By Lahiru Pothmulla
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said, despite the COVID-19 situation, at least a 70% voter turnout could be expected at the General Election on August 5.
Mr. Rajapaksa said 70% voter turnout could be expected with initial indications of high voter turnout experienced at the recent postal voting. The Prime Minister made these comments during a discussion with German Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jörn Rohde when the latter made a farewell call at Temple Trees last morning. According to the Prime Minister’s Media Division, Ambassador Rohde has completed a four-year tenure as the Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Discussing bilateral ties, the Ambassador said Germany’s policy towards Sri Lanka has not changed, and it will always be supportive. The Ambassador also informed Prime Minister Rajapaksa that similar to the Sri Lanka-German Training Institute which was established in Killinochchi in 2016, another two would be set up in Matara and Ratmalana. Ambassador Rohde also said that he plans to continue visiting Sri Lanka and that he hopes tourism would return to normal soon, noting that European countries are also experiencing similar problems in the tourism industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Germany has been one of Sri Lanka’s most reliable markets for tourism. A total of 1,495,055 tourists had visited Sri Lanka by October 31, 2019. Germany is the source of the second highest in tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from Europe, the Prime Minister’s Media Division said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Rohde in a tweet said he raised the case of a German citizen detained under PTA for almost five months without being charged. “Underlined the need to expedite his case,” he said.