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Sri Lanka poll results by midnight

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_84273279_0f16c6ad-1406-44f4-be98-10a9a6bc9de9The results of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections, which started today morning, are expected to be announced by midnight, the authorities said.
Polling will conclude at 4.00 p.m., following which the ballot boxes will be taken to the counting centres, the Daily Mirror reported.

The counting will begin with the postal votes.Polling commenced at 7.00 a.m and has been peaceful so far with no major incidents of violence being reported from any part of the country, polls monitors said.

However, two people believed to be the brothers of a candidate in Sabaragamuwa province’s Rambukkana district were arrested for distributing leaflets bearing the the candidate’s number near a polling booth, police said.
An estimated 75,000 police officers and special task forces have been deployed across the country to maintain law and order. Over 50 foreign observers are present at various polling booths.

Around 15 million people are expected to cast their votes at over 12,000 polling centres.President Maithripala Sirisena announced the parliamentary elections in June after he dissolved parliament just six months after being elected.

A close battle is on the cardds between the United National Front (UNF) coalition and the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).The UNF is led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while the UPFA has former president Mahinda Rajapakse contesting as its main candidate from Kurunegala province.

(IANS)

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President’s Dissolution of Parliament Unconstitutional: Sri Lanka’s Court

The push to oust Rajapaksa dragged Sri Lanka's parliament into chaos.

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Sri Lanka, Parliament
Supporters of ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate outside the supreme court complex in Colombo. VOA

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ruled that President Maithripala Sirisena’s move to dissolve parliament last month was illegal.

In a unanimous decision announced Thursday, the seven-member court said that Sirisena violated the constitution when he called a snap election nearly two years before the parliamentary session was due to end.

The decision adds another chapter to a political crisis that began on on October 26, when President Sirisena fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, claiming that an informant told police that a Cabinet minister was part of a plot to assassinate him.

Sri Lanka, parliament
Ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe holds a copy of the constitution of Sri Lanka as he attends a media briefing at his official residence in Colombo, Oct. 29, 2018. VOA

He replaced Wickremesinghe with Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s former president and strongman, then suspended parliament the next day. In an apparent bow to international pressure, Sirisena summoned lawmakers back to work last Monday.

But when it became apparent that Rajapaksa would not survive a no-confidence vote, Sirisena dissolved parliament on November 9 and called for snap elections. The Supreme Court overruled the president’s decree in a ruling issued just days later.

Wickremesinghe has remained in the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo in defiance of Sirisena’s actions.

Sri Lanka, Parliament
Newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa speaks during the parliament session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 15, 2018. VOA

The push to oust Rajapaksa dragged Sri Lanka’s parliament into chaos. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya held a voice vote on November 14 on the no-confidence motion after Rajapaksa’s supporters staged an noisy, impromptu protest in the chamber before debate began.

Also Read: Sri Lanka On The Brink of ‘Economic Anarchy’

The next day, rival lawmakers exchanged blows after Jayasuriya declared that Sri Lanka had no prime minister or a cabinet, with some of Rajapaksa’s supporters hurling water bottles and other objects at Jayasuriya. (VOA)