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Sri Lanka provincial council elections peaceful amid low voter turnout, eye on Eastern PC

The voting at the elections for three provincial councils in Sri Lanka ended this evening peacefully but with a low voter turnout.The Election Secretariat sources estimated the voter turnout to be about 55 to 60 percent for the elections of Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern provincial councils.Executive Director of the election monitoring group the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Rohana Hettiarachchi said there were no serious incidents or violations of election regulation and only 10 minor were incidents reported during the election today.National Polls Observation Centre’s (NPOC) National Organizer Rasanga Harischandra said the election was held without any violent activities as a whole.The election for the Eastern Provincial Council is seen as a key test for the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) whether the mostly Tamil and Muslim dominated Province approves government’s infrastructure and livelihood development approach or seeks self-governing.The Eastern Province was governed by the ruling party ally Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) party led by the former LTTE soldier turned Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan.The LTTE proxy party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which still leans towards the ideals of the vanquished terrorist organization and calls for self-rule and the merger of the Eastern and Northern provinces, has led a vigorous campaign at this election seeking to defeat the TMVP and gain power in the Council.A victory for TNA would mean the minority Tamils in the Eastern Province are not content with the government’s development programs and opt for autonomy instead.Muddling the prospect for government is the rift between the two major Muslim parties – Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) led by Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem and All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) led by Industries and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen- both of which are allies of the ruling party.The TNA meanwhile has expressed confidence in setting up an administration in the 35-seat Eastern PC with the support of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) in the event the party doesn’t get a majority.TNA Leader R. Sampanthan has predicted that the TNA was likely to get 13 seats in Council and if the UNP wins seven seats, the two parties could join forces and form the administration in the Council with 20 seats.The incumbent Chief Minister has meanwhile expressed confidence that his party will claim the Province as the living standard of the people can only be improved if worked with the government and so much progress is already seen since the end of the war.An opinion poll conducted by the Kelaniya University recently predicted the ruling party to win 41 percent of the votes but the credibility of the poll is questioned by the opposition parties.

Author: TELO Admin