Local Government polls: Voter turnout over 65% | Sunday Observer

Local Government polls: Voter turnout over 65%

Heightened interest was shown by voters, at the Local Government (LG) election yesterday with a voter turnout of over 80 percent in certain districts, according to independent polls observers.

However, the official results were not issued even by the time this edition went to press around 11.00 p.m. yesterday.

The Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya speaking to media shortly after the conclusion of the election last evening said they can safely say the overall voter turnout would exceed 65% despite projections to the contrary by political analysts during the pre-election phase. The official figures of the voter turnout will be released after the counting is completed, he said.

The Commission is expected to complete the announcement of results by midday today.

Commending the Police, Armed Forces, the Civil Defence Force and the election staff for their contribution for a clean and violence free election, Deshapriya said, he did not receive any reports of incidents that might lead to annul the results of any LG body at the close of election and there was little probability that this situation might change later.

The independent election observers as well as the police, confirmed that there were no major election related incidents during the election day.

The international monitors from India, Maldives, Indonesia and South Korea too have reported that the conduct of poll was relatively peaceful and their preliminary report is to be handed over to the Election Commission today.

According to unofficial sources, Hambantota, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Kalutara, Matale, Moneragala have also recorded nearly or over 80% voter turnout. The independent election observers said the election, the first to be held under the ‘wards system’ after four decades, gained much enthusiasm among voters due to the importance added to it by the main political parties wanting to show off their strength in the lead up to a crucial presidential election. The election was held at 13,374 polling stations islandwide. Nearly 200,000 staff was deployed to conduct the poll that was held to elect 8,325 members to 340 LG bodies. Due to a court order, the election to Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha was not held.

Over 15.7 million were eligible to cast their vote at the election and 57,095 candidates from 43 political parties and 222 independent groups were in the fray.

Gampaha with 1.72 million registered voters, the highest number of electors, followed by Colombo with 1.65 million.