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Sri Lanka presidential poll: Gotabaya Rajapaksa takes early lead


Colombo, Nov 17: Main opposition candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has taken an early lead in the Saturday's presidential election.

Sri Lanka presidential poll: Gotabhaya Rajapaksa takes early lead

In the results declared by 4.30 am on Sunday, Rajapaksa had won postal votes of nine districts with his main challenger Sajith Premadasa winning postal votes of only three districts. Postal votes are cast in advance by officials drafted for election duty on polling days.

In the result declared so far from the sole polling division in the south of the country, Rajapaksa has won 65 per cent against Premadasa's 28 per cent.

Premadasa has won three polling divisions, Jaffna, Nallur and Kayts in the Tamil region of Jaffna district by 85, 86 and 69 per cent against Rajapaksa's six, five and 17 per cent.

Saturday's election took place, nearly seven months after homegrown radicals pledging loyalty to the Islamic State terror group detonated suicide bombs at three churches and three posh hotels, killing 269 people, seriously hitting the tourism industry, one of the main forex earning sectors of the country.

"I also call upon all of you to act in a peaceful manner while safeguarding law and order in the wake of the announcement of election results," the prime minister added.

Meanwhile, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has urged the Elections Commission of Sri Lanka (ECSL), to prosecute individuals and parties who have committed offences against public property in the run up to the 2019 presidential poll.

As at the beginning of the campaign moratorium on November 13, TISL's election monitoring arm, the Program for the Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) had received 112 complaints and had submitted 88 verified complaints to the ECSL, Colombo Gazette newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, several countries have issued travel advisories as Sri Lanka prepares to vote at the Presidential election, a separate report said.

The United States, United Kingdom and Australia are among the countries which have issued travel advisories for Sri Lanka, the report said.

The United States has alerted American citizens of the potential for demonstrations before, during, and after the November 16 presidential election, according to a Colombo Gazette report.

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