Lanka goes to poll amidst strict social distancing

Colombo , Aug 5:

Sri Lankans, wearing face masks, on Wednesday started voting in the twice-postponed parliamentary election which is expected to be won by the powerful Rajapaksa family-run party.

Polling stations would be open for voters until 5 PM local time. The counting will start tomorrow.

The election, which was postponed twice due to the coronavirus, is to elect a 225-member Parliament for a 5-year term.

Over 16 million people are eligible to vote to elect 196 out of a total of 225 lawmakers for the next five years. Twenty-nine others will be named from a national list according to the number of votes received by each party. The election, originally scheduled for April 25, was put off until June 20 as the COVID-19 outbreak hampered the preparations.

Under the strict guidelines laid by Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya , every voter’s hands were cleaned before and after voting as special arrangements have been made to transfer the indelible ink to the index finger, with no physical contact with any surface at the polling station. Deshapriya expects an 80 per cent voter turnout from the 16.2 million eligible voters.

President Gotabaya hopes for a two-thirds majority for the SLPP in the general election so that he can amend the Constitution to restore presidential powers curbed by a 2015 constitutional change.

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