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DateLine Sunday, 11 May 2008

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Voters throng polling booths in thousands

Despite minor hiccup at Trinco:

Voters with greater enthusiasm lined up before the polling stations to cast their votes at the Provincial Council polls for the Eastern Province which was held yesterday after twenty years according to the Governor of the Eastern Province Mohan Wijewickrama.

“Despite the LTTE attack in Ampara on Friday where eleven innocent civilians were killed and the attack on a Naval vessel at the Naval base in Trincomalee yesterday, the voters in the districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara cast their votes with greater enthusiasm to restore provincial council administration in the East.

The Easterners have sent a clear message to the LTTE and its stooges that they are determined to establish peace and democracy in the region which eluded them for the past two decades with the polling that took place yesterday”, Governor Wijewickrama said.

He said that unlike the recent local Government polls in the Batticaloa district, there was a good number of political parties and independent candidates contesting in the yesterday’s Provincial Council election.

“It is interesting to note that several ex-militant outfits, including the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, the breakaway party from the LTTE with other Tamil, Muslim and major national political parties contested the polls following a one month long campaign throughout the districts of Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee.

The election officials did a commendable job with making all necessary arrangements to see the polls are taking place without any hindrance,”the Governor added.

The election officials said the polling began in all three districts at 7.00 am where a large gathering of voters were present. Along with the election monitors the police and the security forces were deployed in the vicinity of all polling stations.

A total number of 27,000 police personnel were deployed along with 3500 soldiers in all three districts according to Military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara.

Brigadier Nanayakkara said a mortar attack was launched from Kanchikudichcharu jungles by the LTTE towards Pannalagama village in the Ampara district. Four villagers, including a ten year old child were injured and they are out of danger.

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