PM says new electoral system resulted in peaceful polls

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the pre-poll period for local government bodies, had been peaceful following electoral reforms and fully under the control of an independent commission, allowing people to cast their votes freely, Economy Next reported.

“We did not see the acts seen during the time there were preference votes. There was no violence,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said in a statement.

He said there were no irregular inducements to voters in the form of food parties or other goods being distributed.

Though the elections are for local bodies, analysts are keenly watching the outcome to see how the United National Party of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party of President Maithripala Sirisena will fare.

The SLFP has been split with a faction under ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa contesting under a separate Sri Lanka Podujana Party.

The SLPP has been pushing to make it a referendum on the ruling coalition. President Maithripala has also criticized the UNP, over the handling of a securities scam.

The polls are held under a new law where a part of the candidates will be directly elected and the female participation had been increased.

“An independent elections commission is behind the whole process,” Wickremesinghe said. “Electoral laws are being enforced. The police is being instructed by the commission. Also the media.

“Under this system there is no use of the government power. As a result the your vote is more valuable.