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Only 32% of Jaffna voters get poll cards

[Express Buzz, Friday, 22 January 2010 10:09 No Comment]

Out of the 721,389 registered voters in the electoral district of Jaffna in north Sri Lanka, only 230,761 (around 32 per cent) had received their polling cards till January 16 for the Presidential election to be held on January 26, Daily Mirror reports.

The Jaffna District Assistant Elections Commissioner P Kuganathan has been quoted as saying that most registered voters have either left Sri Lanka or were refugees.

The problem of voting cards existed during the Jaf fna Municipal Council poll in August 2009 also. Of the 105,000 registered voters there, only 50,000 were given cards.

Kuganathan, however, said that people could vote with their national ID cards also and that the polling card would not be insisted upon.

ONLY 13,000 REFUGEES REGISTERED TO VOTE: Meanwhile, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections said that out of the 271,000 Tamil war refugees (60 per cent of whom might be of the voting age) only 13,000 had registered to vote in the presidential election.

Political observers said that what was uppermost in the minds of the war displaced was their resettlement and daily problems of water, food, shelter and sanitation and not who should become Lankan President.

NO CAMPAIGN AMONG REFUGEES: None of the 22 Presidential candidates has bothered to campaign among the war refugees so far. Only the ruling party candidate and incumbent Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has even met the refugees so far.

Opposition candidate Gen Sarath Fonseka has not met them, though there are only nine days to go for the poll.

TNA MP TO CAMPAIGN FOR RAJAPAKSA: Sathasivam Kanagaratnam, Tamil National Alliance MP for the Wanni district, announced that he would campaign for Rajapaksa.

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