New Delhi: A voter turnout of over 50 per cent was recorded in seven districts of Sri Lanka on Saturday as of 12 PM in the presidential election held in the island nation, stated news agency IANS. More than 12,000 voting centres were set up across the country for the Presidential election.Also Read - Sri Lanka Presidential Election Begins; Unidentified Group Opens Fire on Two Buses Carrying Muslim Voters in Mannar
According to The Sunday Times report, the seven districts are Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Polonnaruwa. It must be noted that the election is held in the wake of the brutal Easter Sunday terror attack that took place seven months ago and at a time when the island nation is marked by the wounds of the nearly three-decade-long civil war. Also Read - Sri Lanka Passes Bill to Criminalise Match-Fixing
So far, no violent incidents have been reported as on Saturday, stated Police Secretariat Chief DIG Sarath Peiris. However, earlier in the day, an unidentified group hurled stones and opened fire on two buses carrying Muslim voters in Mannar, according to Sri Lanka media reports. The incident is under probe.
Out of 35 candidates who are contesting in the elections, the top contenders include the 70-year-old former wartime defence secretary and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the 52-year-old candidate from the ruling New Democratic Front (NDF) party Sajith Premadasa. Notably, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the brother of two-time former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Yet another strong candidate who is contesting in the polls is Anura Kumara Dissanayake from the National People’s Power (NPP) coalition.