Sri Lanka presidential candidate barred from voting over identity

Jan 26, 2010 (LBO) – A leftist candidate in Sri Lanka’s presidential polls was turned away by polls officials Tuesday because he could not present a prescribed identification document under the country’s election laws. There are 22 candidates in the running for the presidency. The front runners are President Mahinda Rajapaksa and common opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka. “I thought the identify rule only applied to people officials did not know,” Wickremabahu Karunaratne, who is running for president under as the ‘Left Front’ candidate told reporters outside the polling booth in Colombo’s ‘Slave Island’ area.

“They said they knew me but I had to produce my identity card. I showed the identity card I used when I was a provincial councillor but that was not acceptable.”

Karunaratne is a veteran of Sri Lanka’s leftist politics having been associated with the Lanka Sama Samaja Party or social equality party.