20°C / 22°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 13°C
  • Tue
  • 16°C
  • 12°C
  • Wed
  • 22°C
  • 13°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 16°C
  • Tue
  • 26°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 24°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 26°C
  • 17°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 17°C
  • Sat
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 15°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 24°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 25°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 25°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 23°C
  • 13°C
  • Thu
  • 25°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 23°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 18°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 18°C
  • Wed
  • 21°C
  • 18°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 19°C
  • Fri
  • 23°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 18°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 16°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 22°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 16°C
  • Sat
  • 23°C
  • 18°C
  • Mon
  • 32°C
  • 15°C
  • Tue
  • 31°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 30°C
  • 17°C
  • Thu
  • 32°C
  • 18°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 22°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 16°C
  • Tue
  • 27°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 26°C
  • 17°C
  • Thu
  • 28°C
  • 17°C
  • Fri
  • 23°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 21°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 20°C
  • 17°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 26°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 28°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 25°C
  • 16°C
  • Sat
  • 27°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Thu
  • 26°C
  • 11°C
  • Fri
  • 25°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 29°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 15°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 25°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 20°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 25°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 12°C
  • Wed
  • 23°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 27°C
  • 17°C
  • Sat
  • 23°C
  • 15°C

Sri Lankans vote for a new president to heal divisions after Easter attack

Analysts say Former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and government minister Sajith Premadasa are locked in a close fight.

Voters queue up at a polling station to cast their ballots during the country's presidential election in Colombo on 16 November 2019. Picture: AFP

COLOMBO – Sri Lankans trickled into polling centers early on Saturday to choose a new president for the island-nation still struggling to recover from Easter Sunday attacks on hotels and churches that have heavily weighed on its tourism-dependent economy.

Former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who oversaw the military defeat of Tamil separatists 10 years ago, and government minister Sajith Premadasa are locked in a close fight, politicians and analysts say.

Rajapaksa has vowed to overhaul national security, playing on the fears of the majority Sinhalese Buddhists following the April attacks claimed by Islamic State that killed more than 250 people.

Premadasa has sought to fire up the countryside with promises of free housing, school uniforms for students and sanitary pads for women - touching on a topic rarely discussed in public anywhere in south Asia but which has drawn women to his rallies.

Police said a group of unidentified men opened fire on buses carrying Muslims to a polling station in Anuradhapura district in central Sri Lanka. There were no injuries but witnesses said there were tires burning.

At a polling station in Colombo, M. Gunasekera, a 41-year-old homemaker, said the most important problem was widespread corruption and the lack of accountability of politicians.

About 16 million people are eligible to vote, with the ballot allowing voters to choose up to three candidates in order of preference.

Votes will be counted soon after polling stations close but the results are not expected before Sunday.

Muslims who make up nearly 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 22 million population, say they have
faced hostility ever since the April attacks.

That division has come on top of long-standing grievances of ethnic Tamils, who say they are still to get justice stemming from the human rights violations during a 26-war civil war with Tamil rebels that ended in 2009.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus