Sri Lanka votes in local poll

Mar.30 (AFP) – Sri Lankans were voting Thursday to elect local government bodies, but there was no balloting in the island’s embattled northern and eastern regions, officials said. Some 10.1 million people are eligible to vote for municipal and urban councils as well as village councils responsible for the maintenance of utilities, but electoral officials reported slow polling.

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake 10 days ago put off polling for six months in restive northern and eastern regions, large tracts of which are under the control of Tamil Tiger guerrillas.

The decision followed reports from local administrators, who complained of practical difficulties in staging the poll in areas where the rebels hold sway.

Court cases have blocked voting in several key local councils, including in Sri Lanka’s main city of Colombo.

-Amal Jayasinghe: win98win@gmail.com