UN Secretary-General relieved over peaceful elections in Lanka
Last Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2010, 20:26
Colombo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed relief over peaceful conclusion of presidential polls in Sri Lanka that saw re-election of Mahinda Rajapaksa to the country's top post.

"The secretary General has expressed relief that Sri Lanka's presidential elections have concluded relatively free of violence and he reiterated his call to the country's political parties to abide by the official results and to pursue any concerns peacefully," the UN said in a statement.

Sri Lanka's Department of Elections yesterday announced re-election of Rajapaksa, who has obtained nearly 58 per cent of the more than 10 million votes cast across the country.

Former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka finished second with 40 per cent of votes.

"I realise that the election has been quite a hard-fought one," Ban said at United Nations headquarters in New York.

These are the first polls conducted in Sri Lanka since a decades-long civil war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended last May.

"I had been concerned at the level of violence during the campaign. I am relieved that the vote yesterday appears to have (been) relatively peaceful, despite some violent incidents," he said.

The Secretary-General also appealed to political parties "to abide by the decision and rules and regulations, including addressing any electoral grievances."

"I truly hope that all sides will see the wisdom of acting with restraint and responsibility in the interest of the nation. This would bode well for future elections and national harmony," the top UN official said.


First Published: Thursday, January 28, 2010, 20:26

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