Sri Lanka holds post-war polls in northern towns

Last Updated: Saturday, August 8, 2009 - 17:49

Colombo: Large numbers of Tamils in
north-eastern Sri Lankan towns of Jaffna and Vavuniya, once
dominated by the LTTE, on Saturday turned up at the voting stations
to exercise their franchise in the local body elections, held
for the first time in a decade.

Enthusiastic voters were seen standing in large queues
outside polling stations in Vavuniya and Jaffna, which was the
political and cultural capital of the Tamil Tigers till it was
captured by the Army in the late 1990s.

Around 40 percent of voters exercised their franchise
in Jaffna, over 60 percent polling was reported in both
Vavuniya after voting ended at 1600 hours. Elections to
councils in central Uva province were also held today.

Barring minor incidents, the polling passed off
peacefully, according to an election monitoring body.

Both Jaffna and Vavuniya are located just outside
Wanni which was captured from the LTTE in May by Sri Lankan
forces which also killed the outfit`s chief Velupillai
Prabhakaran.

Police said the peace prevailed in all areas of voting
with no untoward incidents being reported.

The results of the elections are expected after
midnight tonight.

The voting is seen as a test of popularity of
President Mahinda Rajapaksa after his crushing victory over
the LTTE.

The Wanni local leaders of the Tamil United Liberation
Front (TULF) led by V Anandasangaree have pledged support to
the ruling United People`s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidates
in the Vavuniya UC polls.

The main contenders to the UPFA in the Urban council
polls are candidates from its constituent Tamil party EPDP led
by Minister Douglas Devananda, allies All Ceylon Muslim
Congress, SRI TELO and EROS.

Bureau Report

zee



First Published: Saturday, August 8, 2009 - 17:49

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