Polling got underway for general elections in Sri Lanka to elect 225 members for its 16th parliament with strict health guidelines amidst COVID situation.
The voting began at 7 AM in the morning and will continue till 5 PM. An extra hour of polling has been kept in view of COVID situation and social distancing to be kept during voting process. The counting of votes will be held tomorrow and results are expected by late evening. Over 7450 candidates are in fray for parliament seats while around 1.62 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise at around 13 thousand polling booths.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, former PM Ranil Wickremsinghe and former President Maithripala Sirisena are among the main contestants to enter the parliament. The elections were postponed twice after the COVID outbreak as parliament was dissolved in early March, six months before its term ended as President Gotabaya Rajapksa was seeking clear majority in parliament for his party. Extensive arrangements have been being made in wake of COVID outbreak and facemask along with hand sanitization is mandatory at the polling booths.
Health authorities have asked voters not to fear coming to the polling stations and said the applying of ink on the fingers would be carried out in a safe manner. Sri Lanka has only around 400 active COVID cases and they will miss the voting.