Sri Lanka votes for general elections; Mahinda Rajapaksa aims to return as prime minister

Sri Lanka's former president Mahinda Rajapaksa

London, Aug 17: Sri Lankans are going to the polls in a general election as the country’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa aims to return to office as prime minister.

According to the BBC, Rajapaksa lost the presidency in a snap election in January to Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena.

During the election campaign, four people lost their lives in violent incident. However, monitor groups said that there has been less violence as compared to previous years.

Meanwhile, authorities in Sri Lanka have been asked to ensure that voters have safe and secure access to the polls to vote in parliamentary elections.

Earlier on Saturday, Human Rights Watch’s local monitoring groups reported numerous incidents of election-related violence and campaigning irregularities in the month leading up to the polls.

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), a longstanding independent monitoring organization, documented 135 major incidents, 10 involving the use of firearms, and 624 minor incidents between July 13 and August 13.

The major violations occurred primarily in Jaffna, Colombo, Batticaloa, and Gampaha districts. Three people have been reported killed and several injured.

Over the past month there have been several assaults during campaign-related activities, Human Rights Watch said.

(With Agency Inputs)

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