UK hails peaceful polls

Britain has hailed the largely peaceful conduct of the provincial council elections saying the high turnout across all three provinces demonstrates the desire of the Sri Lankan people to engage in this democratic process which ensures all provinces now have a council for the first time since the end of the military conflict.Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said that the polls have been described as largely peaceful by Commonwealth and domestic observer missions, with high turnout across all three provinces. “The lasting reconciliation all Sri Lankans deserve cannot be delivered by these polls alone, but the elections remain an important step in recognising the rights and aspirations of all citizens,” Burt said. He called on the Sri Lankan government and parties who won provincial seats to work together to contribute meaningfully to effective and inclusive regional governance in Sri Lanka. He also welcomed the access given to international observers and the overall conduct of polling day but noted with concern the “credible reports” of the misuse of state resources for campaigning, incidents of intimidation, and violence in the run-up to elections.“I call on the authorities to investigate these serious allegations and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)