Average turnout at Southern polls

By Leon Berenger

The Southern Provincial Council polls ended yesterday amid an average voter turnout and large-scale violations of the election laws, officials and observers said.

Voter turnout at previous PC elections:
70.0 %
North Western
60.7 %
68.4 %
North Central
67.7 %
65.7 %

According to the additional Elections Commissioner W. P. Sumanasiri, the final turnout was around 65 percent. It was lower than the turnout in the last provincial poll in Uva where the turnout was about 70 percent.

Polling began on a dim note in the morning with the turnout recording around 20 to 25 percent in the Hambantota and Matara districts and a 20 percent in the Galle district for more than three hours.

However, voting picked up later, with officials saying that there was a near 60 per cent turnout in all three districts. The elections were relatively peaceful with police saying no major incidents were reported.

However, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections chief Keerthi Tennakoon said more than 30 cases of violations of elections laws were reported in the province. These include last-minute campaigning near polling booths, the pasting of posters and large vehicle convoys carrying supporters of individual candidates, he said.

He described yesterday’s polls as the ‘worst’ ever in terms of the election law violations. “The violations took place at an unprecedented level while the authorities looked the other way.”

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