December 06, 2019
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    Sri Lanka’s decisive Presidential Election today Featured

    November 16, 2019

    The much-anticipated, decisive Presidential Election of Sri Lanka, vied by a record number of 35 candidates to elect the country’s 7th Executive President, is taking place today (16).The general public can register their votes between 7.00 am and 5.00 pm in the evening.A total number of 15,992,096 voters have qualified to exercise their franchise in this tight competition among two frontrunners and 33 other contenders.Voting will be carried out at 12,845 polling stations across the island under tight security of over 68,000 Police and civil defence personnel.

    The voters will see the longest ever ballot paper printed in Sri Lanka, which is nearly 2 feet long. The Department of Printing previously said more than 17 million ballot papers were printed for this election.Taking the length of the ballot paper into consideration, this time the Election Commission decided to extend the voting period, which usually comes to an end at 4.00 pm, to facilitate the voters to find their desired election contender’s name in this elongated slip of paper. The voters can accordingly register their votes until 5.00 pm in the evening.

    Chairman of the Election Commission has emphasized extra ballot papers would not be issued if the voters mistakenly mark their preferences for a presidential candidate that they did not intend to vote for.The voters are urged not to photograph the ballot papers while casting the vote as it is a punishable offence. The Election Commission’s chairman on many occasions advised the public to act with restraint as legal actions can be sought against them in the event of election law violations.
    Among the record number of 35 candidates, who had submitted their nominations, former wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa from Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and Minister Sajith Premadasa from New Democratic Front (NDF) are vying at the forefront for the office of President.The other leading candidate, Anura Kumara Dissanayake from National Movement for People’s Power, who is backed by most of the leftist parties in the country, is considered an alternative force in this tight competition. In the meantime, former Commander of the Army Lieutenant General (Rtd.) Mahesh Senanayake is also partaking in the Presidential Election with the support of the majority of civil society organizations.

    According to reports, thousands of local and foreign observers have been deployed to monitor the voting and ballot paper counting processes of the Presidential Election.Local election monitoring organization People’s Action for Free and Fair Movement (PAFFREL) stated a total number of 4,000 observers were deployed to monitor the Presidential Election’s voting process. In addition, the Centre for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has also deployed thousands of observers for this purpose.The European Union (EU), in response to an invitation by the Election Commission, deployed an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Sri Lanka, to observe the Presidential Election.The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) also launched its International Election Observation Mission to monitor the decisive election, while the Commonwealth set off a ten-member Observer Group led by Prosper Bani, former Ghanaian minister of interior.
    The postal voting for the Presidential Election was carried out on the 31st of October and the 01st, 04th and 05th of November.Accordingly, public servants, election officers, Police and military personnel exercised their votes during the aforesaid days.The voters who were unable to vote on these four days were given the opportunity to cast their ballots November 07 at their respective District Election Offices.The postal voters whose voting applications were rejected are able to cast a normal vote today, according to the Election Commission.The CaFFE and PAFFREL stated the postal voting for the Presidential Election were largely peaceful.
    A total of 1,550 ballot paper counting centres, including 371 for postal vote counting, have been set up island-wide to facilitate the process.The Election Commission’s chairman yesterday stated that the counting will begin at around 5.30 pm this evening and the first postal voting result could be released between 10.00 pm and 12.00 am tonight.The overall results of the Presidential Election are expected to be released before the ends on Sunday, the 18th.
    The Information Department will act as the main authoritative arm to disseminate official results of the Presidential Election 2019. All arrangements have been made by the department by now to circulate election results as and when they receive by the special election desk of the department set up at the Elections Commission from all 25 districts after results are officially approved by the Chief Returning Officers of the respective districts Print media institutions will get election results via e-mail or in a PDF format.The Information Department will start releasing official election results live on YouTube at 6.00 pm on Saturday.Access to YouTube is possible by subscribing to ‘Department of Government Information’ “News.lk’. Facebook – access ‘Department of Government Information’ “News.lk” and click ‘like’

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