Jaffna voter numbers drop in Lanka's electoral register

Colombo: The numbers of voters registered in electoral register for 2010 in the former battle zones of northern districts of Sri Lanka has dipped by over 40 per cent as compared to 2009, an election monitoring group said on Wednesday.

People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said the 2010 voter register now made public for Jaffna electoral district, comprising Jaffna and Kilinochchi, shows that 484,791 persons were registered as voters as against 816,005 in 2009.

The difference of 331,214 shows a steep decline of 41 per cent in the number of voters.

The number of voters in Jaffna is 42,35,74 while Kilinochchi, which served as the administrative capital of the LTTE is 61,217.

During the decades old conflict, the voter registration in Kilinochchi was minimal as the LTTE did not allow people to vote freely in areas under their control.

"The names that ought to have been deleted from the voter register have now been deleted. It reflects the actual number of voters who are resident in the areas, people who have migrated and gone to live elsewhere are all omitted having adopted proper procedures in registering the voters," Rohana Hettiarachchi, the executive director of PAFFREL said.

Hettiarachchi, however said the figure of 484,791 may go up once the resettlement process of the displaced persons is complete in the northern districts.

Election officials said after decades it was possible to conduct a proper voter registration procedure.