A low voter turnout at polls in northern Sri Lanka UPDATES
The Sri Lanka state television announced the results of the elections yesterday. The government secured 13 seats in Jaffna and the Tamil National Alliance. In Vavuniya, a party claimed to be a pro-rebel party secured 5 seats.
According to state television, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling coalition has captured Jaffna town council, the heartland of ethnic Tamils, securing 13 seats while the Tamil National Alliance came second with eight seats.
The pro-rebel party won the Vavuniya town council, taking five of the 11 seats, while the ruling party won two seats.
Opposition political parties in Sri Lanka accused the govenrment of restricting their campaigns and most of the media was barred from reporting.
Opposition parties accused the ruling coalition of restricting their campaigns, and the government barred most media from entering the towns to cover the first local elections held since 1998.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said the decision to bar the media "dashes any hope of a transparent election."
The number of voters that showed up for the elections held in the north of Sri Lanka were quite low.
Colombo - A low voter turnout marred the first local elections held in northern Sri Lanka after the defeat of Tamil rebels, officials said Saturday.
Less than 20% of the voters in Jaffna caste their votes whereas in Vavuniya, around 30% of voters cast their votes.
A politician said that they expected a better turnout. Residents said the poor turnout was because civilians affected by the war were just not interested in casting their votes at the elections.
In the Jaffna, where 100,417 voters were registered to vote, less than 20 percent turned up by the close of polls Saturday evening. In Vavuniya, around 30 percent of the 24,616 eligible voters, cast their ballots.
“The voting was below our expectations as we expected a better turnout,” one politician said.
Residents said that many of the civilians affected by the war were not interested in the elections.
The Sri lanka government banned foreign media from the north during the polls.
While the government has described the polls as a step towards normality in the country, it banned foreign media from the north during the polls.
Suresh Premachandran said the elections were just a government show and the Tamil people did not want an election because they were more concerned about their relatives who were held in camps.
Suresh Premachandran, a member of the Tamil National Alliance - seen as a front for the rebels - said the elections were just a government show.
"The Tamil people do not want an election at this time when hundreds of thousands of their relatives are held in government camps," he said.
Most Recommended Comment
Redwater, Alberta, Canada