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Stage set for polls

Mar 16, 2011 11:22:00 AM - itnnews.lk

The stage is set for tomorrow mini election. Polls will be conducted for 234 local bodies.

Elections will be conducted at 7,402 polling booths countrywide, excluding the Jaffna and Kilinochchi Districts. Voting will commence at 7.00 a.m. and end at 4.00 p.m. The Elections Commissioner called on al voters to visit the polling booth as early as possible and exercise their franchise, as arrangements have been made for the conduct of a free and fair poll.

Elections are being held for three Municipal Councils, 30 Urban Councils and 201 Pradeshiya Sabhas. 8,444,445 voters are eligible to cast their votes to elect 3,036 members. About 80,000 public employees will be engaged in election duty. The Officials who had been posted to the election booths have already arrived at their respective Centres. The Police Elections Division said that around 70 thousand personnel from the Police, the Army and the STF will be providing security. Accordingly a special network is in place at the election booth as well as the environs. The Elections Secretariat said that registered voters can cast their ballot even without the poll cards after consolidating their identity. As soon as voting closes at 4.00 p.m. the ballot boxes will be sealed and put in a security bag. Political Parties as well as Independent Groups have been given the opportunity of pasting a sticker on the ballot boxes after securing the required permission.

Initially nominations were received for 301 councils from the 20th to the 27th of January. 452 nomination papers were rejected. As a result of legal action instituted by the parties concerned polls to 64 local bodies had to be postponed. Polls to two local bodies were also postponed due to problems in clearing mines.

In the meantime, during talks held with the General Secretaries of Political Parties, the Elections Chief decided to postpone polls to the Thunukkai local council. Accordingly elections are not being held for 64 local councils

The Education Ministry decided to keep all Government schools except in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi District closed from today until Friday due to the polls. All bars and liquor shops will also be kept closed tomorrow. It has also been decided to keep all filling stations close to Counting Centres open throughout the 24 hours on election day. Special train and bus services also operated to cater to the needs of the voters visiting their home towns to exercise their vote.