Sri Lanka polls chief threatens to suspend vote count

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Colombo, Jan 7: Sri Lanka's elections commissioner on Wednesday threatened to suspend the vote count of Thursday's presidential election if violence affected the overall electoral process.

Mahinda Deshapriya said the counting of votes would be delayed till all the ballot boxes reach the respective counting centres.

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There have been concerns over attempts to intimidate election officers.

Deshapriya said the ballot boxes have been sent to polling centres. The election will begin at 7 a.m. Thursday. The results will be out Friday.

"If there is an issue even at one counting centre, we will need to decide if we are going to suspend counting of votes," he said.

"So we will wait till all the ballot boxes reach the counting centres before we start the count."

Deshapriya urged the media to avoid publishing false news, including reports that some political figures had fled Sri Lanka or were under house arrest.

He said action had been taken to crack down on attempts to publish posters and leaflets which damage the image of some people.

He said he was also investigating reports that the army had been sent to some polling areas in the Tamil-majority north to disrupt the polling.

IANS

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