Voting underway in Sri Lanka’s final council poll

October 10, 2009 (AFP) – Voting got underway in southern Sri Lanka Saturday in the final local council poll before national elections due next year, officials said. Some 1.7 million people are eligible to vote for the 55 members of the Southern Provincial Council, a stronghold of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance.

“Voting started on time and there have been no incidents of violence,” a police spokesman said adding that more than 7,000 additional constables had been deployed to guard polling booths.

National parliamentary elections are due to be held anytime after April when the six-year term of the current legislature ends.

Political sources said the government may be encouraged to go for an earlier vote depending on the outcome of Saturday’s vote. The results are expected by Sunday.