World

Sri Lankans, sporting masks, flock to voting centres for parliament election

Summary

COLOMBO: Sri Lankans lined up earlier than polling stations opened on Wednesday, sporting masks and social distancing, to elect a brand new parliament that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes will clear the way in which for him to spice up his […]

COLOMBO: Sri Lankans lined up earlier than polling stations opened on Wednesday, sporting masks and social distancing, to elect a brand new parliament that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes will clear the way in which for him to spice up his powers.
The tourism-dependent island nation of 21 million folks has been struggling since lethal militant assaults on resorts and church buildings final yr, claimed by Islamic State, adopted by painful lockdowns to sluggish the unfold of the novel coronavirus.
Rajapaksa is in search of a two-thirds majority for his occasion within the 225-member parliament to allow constitutional reforms to make the presidency extra highly effective so he can implement his financial and nationwide safety agenda.
Polls opened at 7am (0130 GMT).
Election officers wore clear face shields whereas medical personnel have been deployed to make sure voters stored strict guidelines to stop the unfold of the coronavirus.
“There might be no likelihood of you getting contaminated by the coronavirus at polling stations,” mentioned the chairman of the election fee, Mahinda Deshapriya.
“The polling station is safer than the seaside, the restaurant and {the marketplace}, it’s very corona free”, he mentioned.
Sri Lanka had reported 2,828 circumstances of the coronavirus and 11 deaths as of Tuesday, which is small in contrast with different South Asian international locations.
Rajapaksa, who was elected President in November, has claimed credit score for controlling the outbreak with strict lockdowns.
He’s hoping to put in his older brother and former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as Prime Minister.
The brothers constructed their political careers as nationalist champions of the bulk Sinhalese, Buddhist, group.
They’re finest identified for crushing ethnic minority Tamil separatist insurgents who battled for many years for a homeland within the island’s north and east.
The 26-year civil battle led to 2009 when the elder Rajapaksa was President amid allegations of torture and killings of civilians within the ultimate levels of the battle.
Since then, governments led by the brothers’ opponents have sought to cut back the ability of the President to stop abuses and as an alternative strengthen unbiased commissions appointed by parliament.
However Gotabaya Rajapaksa mentioned he has felt hobbled since he took over as President.
“I want energy to implement my financial programme which you voted for,” he instructed supporters final week.
The chief of the primary opposition occasion is Sajit Premadasa, the son of Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was assassinated whereas President by a Tamil suicide bomber in 1993.
Premadasa’s occasion has warned of the chance of autocracy if the presidency is invested with extra powers.
Votes are to be counted on Thursday and the outcomes ought to be identified that day.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: