Edging Ahead

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

President Chandrika Kumaratungas United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has so far secured just over 47 percent of the votes at Fridays parliamentary poll.
The ruling United National Front (UNF) led by Premier Ranil Wickremasinghe, was trailing with a little over 35.2 percent of the total votes counted so far, the Elections Dept said.rn

rnThe Buddhist clergy led Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has so far secured 3.9 percent or 65,950 of the total votes counted so far.rn

rnDespite numerous reports of election rigging, independent monitors said that Fridays poll was smoothly run than previous local elections, which are often marked by widespread fraud and violence. rn

rnOverall turnout was about 75 percent of the countrys 12.8 mn registered voters, officials said. rn

rnOfficials counted 250 incidents of election fraud on Friday. rn

rnThe elections, the fourth in three-years, was called by Kumaratunga to end the bitter political deadlock.rn

rnKumaratunga has accused Wickremasinghe of being too soft