Tamil kingmakers shun Sri Lanka vote

OMANTHAI,(AFP) – Polling booths in this de facto border post were built for minority Tamils, seen as potential kingmakers in Sri Lanka’s presidential elections Thursday, but only four turned up to vote. OMANTHAI,(AFP) – Polling booths in this de facto border post were built for minority Tamils, seen as potential kingmakers in Sri Lanka’s presidential elections Thursday, but only four turned up to vote. Election official P. Paskaran said 64 polling booths in this frontier area of Sri Lanka, racked by ethnic conflict, saw only four people cast ballots in the first four hours.

“Not a single ballot has been cast in most of the booths here,” Paskaran told AFP inside a tin-roofed polling centre. Police chatted with election officials as they whiled away the nine-hour voting period.

Tamil Tiger rebel leaders who have campaigned for a separate state have dismissed the presidential election as meaningless for their minority community but stopped short of calling for a boycott.

Both front-runners — Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe — are members of the majority Sinhalese community which appeared split down the middle over the candidates.

Rajapakse