By Gazala Anver – Photo By Thusitha Kumara
Local elections monitors claim that the voter turn out at the islandwide local authority elections was higher than initially expected.
Executive Director, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Rohana Hettiarachchi, said that on average, a voter turn out of around 55% – 65% was expected for local authority elections. He also said that although an exact total voter turnout figure had not been officially determined, PAFFREL placed the estimate at around 64% this time.
Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) meanwhile placed the estimate at around 58%. “Some of the figures coming in are unbelievable,” said CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennekoon. “I would say the voter turnout is far better than expected,” he added. However, he also said that making an exact judgment was not easy. “The numbers are very tricky. In Colombo District the voter turnout was lower than expected, but in other places, like Kurunegala, it was better than expected. It depends on each local authority,” Tennekoon said.
He said that CaFFE had been observing the pre-election situation in the country, and had at first concluded that there was little enthusiasm among the public. The numbers of people who did eventually turn up had therefore been unexpected, he said.