Sri Lanka’s Fonseka unable to vote in election

COLOMBO, January 26, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka said he was unable to vote in Tuesday’s presidential election because his name was not on the electoral register. A pro-government politician had wanted him thrown out of the contest when he filed his nomination because he wrongly claimed Fonseka was a US citizen.

Fonseka holds a US Green Card which gives him a right to residency in the United States.

Another candidate, Vickremabahu Karunaratne, was turned away at the polling booth because he did not have an identity card, but was later allowed to cast his ballot with special permission from Dissanayake, an election official said. Despite the embarrassment he received full backing from the independent elections commissioner, who said he was still eligible for the presidency.

“My name is not on the 2008 register and therefore I cannot vote at this election,” Fonseka told AFP. “The government is trying to use this to mislead the public at the last minute.”

The former army chief said he had sent in his voter registration papers.

Ruling-party lawmakers had appeared on state television and urged voters not to cast their ballots for Fonseka, sayin