Lanka election officials pleased with build-up polls in North
Colombo: Sri Lankan election officials are happy with the conditions prevailing in the country`s war-ravaged North ahead of next month`s provincial elections, set to be held after a gap of 25 years.
Election body chief Mahinda Deshapriya was on tour of the minority Tamil-dominated northern areas for the past two day to take a stock of the situation.
"The commissioner inspected the arrangements in place to conduct the election. He was pleased with the peaceful conditions prevailing there", M M Mohamed, deputy commissioner of election body said.
The election is seen as crucial by international observers who regard it as a major step towards reconciliation with the nation`s Tamil minority since the end of a three-decade-long civil war in 2009 when government troops defeated LTTE rebels fighting for a separate Tamil homeland.
The northern council polls ? the first ever since the provincial councils became part of Sri Lanka`s statutes in 1987 - were held back given the resettlement and rehabilitation in the war-ravaged areas.
The country`s main Tamil party, TNA, had earlier complained of threats faced by their candidates. They alleged that large scale intimidation had hampered their campaign.
However, monitoring group CaFFE (Campaign for Free and Fair Elections) have endorsed the election officials` view. CaFFE said that the build up to the northern election was free of violent incidents in comparison with the north western and central provincial council elections, which would also happen on the same day.
Meanwhile, the deputy commissioner of the election body said that they have extended the deadline for the northern voters to apply for identification card required for voting.
"The date has been extended till September 12", Mohamed said.
Identity card is compulsory for voting in Sri Lanka. The Election Department issues temporary identity cards for those who do not possess them.
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