Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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Sri Lanka looks to India for help on introducing EVMs in its next election

The Sri Lankan Election Commission, which is dealing with unfair campaigning tactics, said EVMs will replace the current manual paper voting on a trial basis.

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Colombo: Sri Lanka will seek India’s assistance to introduce electronic voting machines on a trial basis in the next provincial polls, the island nation’s top election official said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said, “I hope to do a trial at the next provincial election.”

The island nation will hold presidential elections on November 16 and the results will be announced two days later on November 18. The polls will be held from 7 am to 4 pm. There are 35 candidates in the fray.

Deshapriya said he expected at least 85 per cent voter turn for the presidential elections. Sri Lanka has over 15 million eligible voters.

The election chief said electronic voting systems will replace the current manual paper voting, for which the Indian government’s assistance would be taken, in the next provincial polls, dates for which have not yet been announced.

He said the commission has been closely monitoring unfair campaigning tactics adopted by various parties.

The Election chief said Army Chief Shavendra Silva has been given a week to clarify why his picture was used to promote a presidential candidate.

Further, a message from Silva was used in a campaign video for candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who is the country’s former defence minister and the brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The ruling party, led by candidate Sajith Premadasa, had lodged a complaint against Silva’s voice message.

Deshapriya said the state media outlets have been warned against biased reporting and to grant all presidential candidates equal air time.

He said the regulations are applicable to privately owned media stations as well.

Also read: Why opposition leaders float EVM conspiracy theories knowing they are not true


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