Polls to elect members from the Kurunegala District to the fifth North Western Provincial Council were held yesterday in a peaceful manner with no serious incidents being reported and with an unusually low voter turnout.
Yesterday’s elections saw the most lukewarm response from voters in years.
Although there were large crowds present at polling stations in the morning, there were few voters later on. This trend was seen mainly in remote villages, where, by midday, only 35-40 percent of the voters had cast their ballots.
One reason for the low turnout was that many of the villagers were involved in the current paddy harvest.
Strict rules and regulations were maintained at the polling stations with regard to proper identification of voters. Those who carried National Identity Cards (NICs) with even the slightest spelling errors were turned away by elections officials.
The polls were largely free of any serious incidents with the only exception being a UPFA candidate and his supporters reportedly getting assaulted by a non-cabinet minister in a apparent home-and-home clash for preference votes. Ibbagamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Kamal Indika and his supporters had reportedly come under attack by a non-cabinet minister. Mr. Indika and some of his supporters were injured and admitted to hospital, it was reported.
Meanwhile in a separate incident, a female presiding officer had misplaced a list of names of JVP polling agents resulting in the JVP members having to wait for an hour to enter the polling stations. They were allowed into the stations after a complaint was lodged.
“There were no processions, or candidates bringing people along with them to vote, unlike previous times,” a resident said.