Uva Province polls today
Sri Lanka is holding another provincial council election today, this time in the Uva province in the south east of the country.
Uva is divided into two districts, Badulla and Moneragala. There are a total of 942,730 eligible voters with 609,966 electing 18 councillors in Badulla and 332,764 electing 14 councillors in Moneragala. The 834 polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time.
Twelve political parties will be contesting the election. In the last election President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s alliance, the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won 25 of the 34 seats in the province. Rajapaksa’s nephew, Shashindra Kumara Rajapaksa the Chief Minister has been largely ineffective and the UPFA may struggle to keep all of their seats. The Groundviews website in Sri Lanka reports that a Centre for Policy Alternatives survey found 43.4% of people feel that their household financial situation is a little worse than a year ago and 31.9% say it is a lot worse.
The main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP) which won seven seats in 2009 has been doing well in the province and especially since its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe patched up his differences with another party figure Sajith Premadasa.
A good result for the UPFA might well encourage the President to hold a presidential election later this year or early in 2015. An election must be held before January 2016.
Election watchdog PAFFREL reports that there have been complaints of 375 incidents of which 287 were confirmed, a much higher incidence rate than in the other provincial elections earlier this year.