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Sri Lanka ruling party ahead in polls

Apr 8, 2010 8:00:00 PM - aussieindolanka.com
The party of Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken a lead in the country’s general election, early results suggest. But poll monitors say more than half of the war-displaced Tamil population in the north were denied the right to vote on Thursday. Turnout was low, at about 50%, reports say. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s main rival, Gen Sarath Fonseka, is standing despite being in jail. With about a fifth of the votes counted, Mr Rajapaksa’s party has taken a lead securing more than 60% of the vote so far. In his native south, where his popularity is especially high following last year’s victory againt Tamil Tiger rebels, he is doing even better, says the BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo. The main opposition group is trailing in a distant second place, and the party of Gen Fonseka has only five percent of the vote.   news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8610705.stm