Tuesday July 23, 2019
Home Uncategorized Sri Lanka beg...

Sri Lanka begins voting for parliamentary polls

0
//

Colombo: Voters in Sri Lanka queued up on Monday to cast their votes for a parliamentary election amidst tight security to elect a new government.

Sweet mandarine
Sweet mandarine

Around 15 million people are expected to cast their votes in the island nation in over 12,000 polling centres, reported Xinhua news agency.

Voting commenced at 7 a.m. and will end at 4 p.m.

An estimated 75,000 police officers and special task forces have been deployed across the country to maintain law and order along with over 50 foreign observers being present at polling booths.

The parliamentary elections was announced by President Maithripala Sirisena in June after he dissolved parliament just six months after being elected to power.

A close battle between the United National Front (UNF) coalition and the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) will be seen in the elections.

The UNF is led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while the UPFA has former president Mahinda Rajapakse contesting as its main candidate from the province of Kurunegala.

Rajapakse is looking at making a political comeback and eyeing to be the nation’s new prime minister if the opposition wins majority in the polls.

The department of elections said voting results are expected to be announced on Tuesday.

(IANS)

Next Story

Sri Lanka to Reduce Airline Charges to Help Tourism Industry

The government currently predicts $3.7 billion in revenue from tourism this year, down from an initial forecast of $5 billion

0
srilanka, tourism
Buddhist monks take part in a prayer ceremony at a buddhist temple for the victims, three days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 24, 2019. VOA

Sri Lanka’s government announced Tuesday it will reduce ground handling charges for airlines and slash aviation fuel prices and embarkation fees to help the country’s vital tourism industry recover after Easter suicide bombings killed more than 250 people.

Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said the decision will lead to an increase in flights to Sri Lanka and a reduction in ticket prices, which will attract more tourists to the Indian Ocean island nation, famed for its pristine beaches.

Seven suicide bombers from a local Muslim group, National Thowheed Jammath, attacked three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21, killing 258 people, including 45 foreigners mainly from China, India, the U.S. and Britain. Tourist arrivals declined 57% in June from a year earlier, dealing a severe blow to the tourism industry, the country’s third-largest foreign currency earner after remittances from overseas workers and textile and garment exports.

sri lanka, tourism
Kandy Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka. Wikimedia Commons

The cuts in charges and fees will be in place for six months, said Johanne Jayaratne, head of the government’s tourism development agency. About 2.3 million tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2018, when 29 airlines offered 300 flights per week. After the April 21 attacks, 41 fights per week were canceled, amounting to a loss of 8,000 passenger seats. Several airlines have reinstated their normal schedules since then, but others have not.

ALSO READ: Ukraine President Unveils Shelter that Spans Remains of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

Dimuthu Tennakoon, chairman of the Board of Airline Representatives, said the government decision will encourage airlines to increase their capacity and offer attractive fares.
“That will definitely happen with this reduction because fuel and ground handling contribute a significant percentage of the total cost element of any airline,” he said.

Tourism accounts for 4.9% of Sri Lanka’s GDP. Around half a million Sri Lankans depend directly on tourism and 2 million indirectly. The government currently predicts $3.7 billion in revenue from tourism this year, down from an initial forecast of $5 billion. (VOA)