- Title: SRI LANKA: SRI LANKANS VOTE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS
- Date: 10th July 2004
- Summary: (W4) COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (JULY 10, 2004) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. WIDE OF POLLING STATION 0.05 2. CLOSE OF SIGN TO POLLING STATION 0.10 3. VARIOUS OF PEOPLE COMING TO VOTE 0.27 4. VARIOUS OF SECURITY AT POLLING STATION 0.52 5. WIDE OF POLLING STATION WITH NOTICE FOR FEMAL VOTING 0.57 6. WIDE OF WOMAN VOTING 1.03 7. WIDE OF COLOMBO MAYOR PRASANA GUNAWARDENE VOTING 1.14 8. SCU SOUNDBITE (English) MAYOR OF COLOMBO PRASANA GUNAWARDENE SAYING: "Like in any election it is an exercise in democracy. I believe that this election comes after a general election and there is apparently a significant amount of apathy. It is not going to bring about any government change but hopefully people will come to vote and express a degree of confidence in the electoral system." 1.53 9. VARIOUS OF VOTING 2.07 10. WIDE OF POLLING STATION 2.15 11. VARIOUS OF MAN VOTING 2.27 12. WIDE OF SECURITY OUTSIDE POLLING STATION 2.30 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 25th July 2004 13:00
- Location: COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
- Country: Sri Lanka
- Reuters ID: LVA5MZ88DAHRHUXWD60RQOD782FZ
- Story Text: Sri Lankans vote in local elections seen as a test
of the three month old government's popularity.
Sri Lankans voted on Saturday (July 10) in local
elections seen a test of the three-month-old government's
popularity, and which analysts hope could bring a fresh
impetus to restart stalled peace talks with Tamil rebels.
The vote comes just days after a suicide bomb
attack in the capital strained a ceasefire agreement
between the government and Tamil Tigers, but police said
they deployed about 50,000 officers to oversee the poll,
which had so far been peaceful.
The island has been on election footing for most of the
year, since President Chandrika Kumaratunga called a snap
poll that saw her United People's Freedom Alliance
coalition elected in early April and voter turnout was
expected to be low.
"Like in any election it is an exercise in democracy. I
believe that this election comes after a general election
and there is apparently a significant amount of apathy,"
Colombo mayor Prasana Gunawardene told reporters as he cast
"It is not going to bring about any government change
but hopefully people will come to vote and express a degree
of confidence in the electoral system," he said.
But analysts say after Saturday's election -- in which
more than 4,000 candidates are competing for 316 provincial
council seats -- the government may shift away from some of
its more populist policies.
They say it may turn its focus to making progress on
the two main issues facing the country -- the economy and
efforts to end the 21-year civil war.
Direct talks stalled in April last year and the
government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been
unable to agree on an agenda for renewed negotiations,
though both sides say they remain committed to the
Analysts say the suicide blast, which killed four
police officers and the bomber, underscores the importance
of resuming talks to end the war over a separate state for
minority Tamils that has killed 64,000 since it began in
But others say the violence could strengthen the
hardline Sinhalese nationalist elements of the Freedom
Alliance, who oppose concessions to the Tigers.
Sporadic killings have continued in the east of the island, and an
elderly monk wounded in a grenade attack on
his temple died on Saturday, radio said.
The European Union condemned the the recent increase in
violence, saying it would complicate peace efforts.
"The political violence we have seen recently will make
it more difficult to restart substantive negotiations
towards peace and to deliver on the simple demand from the
majority of Sri Lanka's citizens for peace and security,"
it said in a statement.
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