News / Asia

Sri Lanka Congratulated for Successful Presidential Election

Multimedia

Audio

The United States and India are congratulating Sri Lanka for carrying out a successful presidential election this week.  But there are also calls from the international community for the South Asian island nation to investigate the opposition's claim of vote-rigging and other election violations.

The U.S. Embassy in Colombo issued a statement congratulating Sri Lanka for a mostly peaceful election with high voter turnout.

Sri Lanka's neighbor just across the Palk Strait, India, is pledging to deepen the relationship with Colombo during the second term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The losing opposition coalition candidate, former General Sarath Fonseka, is demanding that the official results be annulled, claiming rampant illegal use of state resources during the campaign and a rigged vote counting.

Rukshana Nanayakkara, Deputy Exec. Dir., Transparency Internatinal Sri Lanka
Rukshana Nanayakkara, Deputy Exec. Dir., Transparency Internatinal Sri Lanka

The deputy executive director in Sri Lanka for the anti-corruption organization Transparency International is expressing concern about the use of government officials, media, and public transport on behalf of the president's re-election campaign.  But Rukshana Nanayakkara tells VOA News the former army commander needs to produce something beyond speculation to support his allegations there was tampering with the vote-counting process.

"Right now, we have no evidence whatsoever to prove what he has said other than the rumors, which are spreading around the country," he said.

Thousands of domestic monitors observed balloting throughout the country Tuesday, reporting the election was considerably less violent than previous years.

There were only a handful of accredited foreign observers, with major international observer groups saying they did not have adequate notification to prepare for the Sri Lanka election. 

Ichal Supriadi, Mission Director, Asian Network for Free Elections
Ichal Supriadi, Mission Director, Asian Network for Free Elections

The mission director of the Asian Network for Free Elections, Ichal Supriadi, speaking to VOA, suggests the government should agree to recount disputed ballots to settle any doubts about the president's nearly 18 percent margin of victory.  

"The best we can say right now about Sri Lanka is that the election, yes, was really smooth, but needs real reform of the electoral process," said Supriadi.

A general election to elect a new parliament is expected to be held in several months.

Mr. Fonseka has spoken of continuing his quest for political office, while also noting he might have to temporarily seek exile for his personal safety.  The day after the election, the former military chief accused Mr. Rajapaksa of wanting to see him assassinated.

The United States government is urging Sri Lankan authorities to ensure the safety and security of all candidates and campaign workers amid fears some are targets for arrest or retaliation.

The incumbent captured about 70 percent of the majority Sinhalese vote.  The top challenger, who is also Sinhalese, enjoyed strong support among minority Tamils.  Both of the candidates were touted as war heroes for last year's defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, ending a quarter century civil war.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More