15 million voters, 6151 candidates, 196 seats

Over 15 million registered voters will go to the polls on Monday, August 17 to elect Sri Lanka’s 15th Parliament. Officials at the Department of Elections told The Nation that preparations for the election were now almost complete.

Voting will commence at 7.00am and end at 4.00pm. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has appealed to voters to exercise their franchise as early as possible on Election Day. Noting that the vote is a valuable right belonging to the citizenry, the Elections Commissioner has further urged the public to make use of it.

All propaganda activities related to the election ended at midnight on Friday (August 14).
A total of 15,044,490 registered voters are eligible to cast their ballots at this election. Their ballots will elect 196 representatives to Parliament from a total of 6,151 candidates who will be contesting. MPs for the other 29 seats of the country’s 225-seat Parliament would be selected via the National List, depending on how well their respective political parties perform. The election will be held countrywide across 22 electoral districts sub-divided into 160 polling divisions.

Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohammed said voting will be conducted at 12,314 polling stations. These ballots would be counted at 1,600 counting centers. The Department of Elections will deploy over 185,000 officials for election duties. Accordingly, 125,000 officials would be deployed at polling stations, while about 60,000 officials will be deployed at counting centers, the Deputy Elections Commissioner further said.

The Elections Department expects to issue the first postal voting result by 11.00pm on Monday.

In addition to the observers deployed by local election monitoring bodies, about 100 foreign observers from the Commonwealth, the European Union and SAARC countries will also be on duty at this election. Most of the foreign observers are already in the country.
Meanwhile, the Police Department would deploy 70,549 Police officers for election duties, Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. An additional 4,825 Special Task Force (STF) personnel will be deployed to provide security to road blocks, counting centers and mobile patrol units. Two police officers will be on duty at each polling station. Police officers would be reporting for polls duty from August 16.  The police is also set to deploy 2,885 mobile units during the election period. In addition, 161 riot police squads will be deployed to certain areas to maintain law and order, while 221 special road blocks are due to be placed.