London: Sri Lankan military intimidated and harassed voters and opposition candidates during northern regional elections, foreign observers have revealed.
Commonwealth observers however praised organisers for way the polling was conducted, which the Tamil opposition won by a landslide.
According to the BBC, the opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 30 seats in the 38-member Northern Provincial Council, which took place four years after the army defeated Tamil Tiger rebels.
However, the run-up to the election was marred by allegations of army intimidation that were firmly denied by the authorities.
The Commonwealth Observer Mission to the elections wrote in its preliminary findings that the opposition candidates, their supporters and large number f voters faced instances of intimidation and harassment.
The report said that the freedom to hold campaign meetings and openly interact with the electorate was restricted, adding that the heavy presence and influence of the military also compromised the electoral environment.
However, it applauded the determination and resilience of voters who turned out to vote, and praised the electoral commission`s organisation of the poll as impressive.