Sri Lanka voter turnout may top 70-pct: monitors

Jan 26, 2010 (LBO) – More than 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s registered electors are estimated to have turned out to vote in Tuesday’s presidential polls, though voting at former war-torn areas in the north and the east was much lower, monitors said. Rohana Hettiarachchi Executive director of PAFREL, an election monitoring body said turnout in the north of the island was estimated to have been around 15 to 20 percent and in the Killinnochi district it estimated to have been as low as 10 percent.

In the East of the island around 50 to 60 percent are estimated to have turned up, he said.

Monitors estimate that 70 t0 80 percent of voters in the rest of the island voted.

The main opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka, who is running against ruling president Mahinda Rajapaksa did not vote. His spokesman Anura Kumara Dissanayake said Fonseka was in the battlefield in 2008 when the voter register was compiled in 2008.

Government spokesmen said Fonseka was not fit to run for president as he was not a registered voter.

But election commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said in a statement that not being a registered voter or not exercising the vote was not a bar to run for president or to be elected.

Wickremabahu Karunaratne, a left