The curtain will drop at 12.00 midnight today on the hectic and closely fought 44-day propaganda campaign for Saturday‘s presidential election to elect the 7th executive president of Sri Lanka.
The Election Commission (EC) in its gazette notice announced that the presidential election will be held on November 16, 2019, while nominations were accepted on October 7 from 35 candidates representing 19 political parties, 13 independent groups and three other parties.
A total of 15,992,096 voters are eligible to vote at 12,845 polling booths countrywide while postal while 659,030 of them were eligible for postal voting from October 31 to November 5.
In addition to three front line candidates in the fray -- Deputy UNP leader Sajith Premadasa, former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the SLPP and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, former Army Commander General (retired) Mahesh Senanayaka from the National Peoples Party (NPP) and Battaramulle Seelarathana Thera from the Janasetha Peramuna appear to be making an impact during the propaganda campaign.
The other candidates are: Ajantha Wijesinghe from the Socialist Party of Sri Lanka, Saman Prasanna Perera from the Ape Janabala Paksaya, Ariyawansa Dissanayaka from the Democratic United National Front, Siritunga Jayasuriya from the United Socialist Party, B.G. Nandimithra from the New Samasamaja Party, Wajirapani Wijesiriwardana from the Socialist Equality Party, Sarath Manamendra from the Nawa Sihala Urumaya, Rohan Pallewatta from the Nationa Development Front, A.S.P. Liyanage from the Sri Lanka Labour Party, Duminda Nagamuwa from the Frontline Socialist Party, Aruna De Soyza from the Democratic National Campaign, Ajantha De Soyza from the Ruhunu Janatha Party, Priyantha Edirisinghe from the Okkoma Wasiyo Okkoma Rajawaru Organization, Namal Rajapaksa from the Jathika Samagi Peramuna and Subramaniam Gunaratne from the Ape Jaithika Peramuna.
The independent candidates are: Jayantha Katagoda, Siripala Amarasinghe, Aparakke Punnananda Thera, Miroy Fernando, Samansiri Herath, Vijithakumara Keerthiratne, Chaminda Anurudha, Samaraweera Weerawanni, Ashoka Wadigamangawa, Idrus Mohamed, Piyasiri Wijenayaka, Rajiva Wijesinghe, M.K.Sivajilingam, M.L.A.M. Hisbulla and Hassa Mohamed Alevi.
One of the positive developments at this election campaign is the sharp drop of election-related violence and crimes when compared to previous elections. It is a common feature in this part of the world that elections are marred by serious crimes such as bombings, shootings and killings of rival party candidates and supporters during the election campaigns.
Fortunately, there was not a single death or serious injuries reported during the election campaign up to yesterday and credit must go to the strict application of the law by the Election Commission chaired by Mahinda Deshapriya, to political party leaders and supporters and in particular to all voters.
Mr. Deshapriya was strict from the very beginning and curtailed the uncontrolled display of posters, hoardings, cutouts, banners, floats and billboards and processions by political parties that ultimately lead to violence. (Sandun A Jayasekera)