Sri Lanka: Campaigning for parliamentary polls to end today
In Sri Lanka, the campaigning for parliamentary elections next Wednesday will come to an end at midnight today. Election commission has said all types of campaign activities, including meetings, distributing handbills, displaying posters, and banners will not be permitted during the ‘silent period’ which comes into effect 48 hours before the election.
Around 1.6 crore voters will be eligible to exercise their franchise to elect a 225-member parliament. This is also the first major election in the region after COVID outbreak and special arrangements are being made to meet the health guidelines in wake of COVID. The ruling Sri Lanka People’s party (SLPP) is aiming to get two-thirds majority at the election in a bid to change 19th amendment to the constitution which has curtailed President’s powers and set up independent commissions.
The party led by Prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has been highlighting the failures during the previous government including Easter Sunday attacks and bond scam. Opposition parties are talking of post-COVID recovery and overcoming economic challenges before the country.
The opposition is divided between two camps led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe and former Minister Sajith Premadasa, who lost last year’s Presidential elections to Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Mr. Premadasa broke away from the United National party (UNP) led by Ranil to form his own party.