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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs