Voting opens in Sri Lanka

Voting got under way Thursday to elect Sri Lanka’s fifth executive president amid overnight violence that killed at least six people, election officials and police said. Voting got under way Thursday to elect Sri Lanka’s fifth executive president amid overnight violence that killed at least six people, election officials and police said. Some 10,486 polling booths opened at 0100 GMT and were to remain open for nine hours, elections commission spokesman Rasika Peiris said.

“We don’t have any reports of any disruptions,” Peiris told AFP. “Although there had been some incidents in the east yesterday, there is nothing to indicate it affected the opening of polling booths.”

Police said there was an escalation of violence in the island’s embattled eastern province, where six people were killed Wednesday, including two police, while three polling booths were attacked with grenades.

Some 13.3 million people are eligible to vote. There are 13 candidates in the fray, but only Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe are considered serious contenders.

In the prime minister’s home constituency of Tangalle, 200 kilometres (125 mi