Sri Lanka counts votes from parliament election

Leader of Sri Lanka People's Front party and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa wearing a protective mask arrives to cast his vote at a polling station during the country's parliamentary election, following the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Medamulana, Sri Lanka, on August 5 2020
Leader of Sri Lanka People's Front party and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa wearing a protective mask arrives to cast his vote at a polling station during the country's parliamentary election, following the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Medamulana, Sri Lanka, on August 5 2020
Image: STRINGER

Sri Lanka on Thursday began counting votes for a parliament election which President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's party is widely expected to win, cementing his grip on power.

Close to 70% of eligible Sri Lankans voted in Wednesday's election to the 225-member parliament, shrugging off fears of coronavirus.

Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said counting had started at 9am local time (0330 GMT) and the first results were expected late afternoon with the final tally coming in around midnight.

The counting of votes is under way in Sri Lanka after Wednesday's parliamentary election. Turnout was down - but polling wrapped up without any major incidents of violence that have plagued previous elections. Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez reports from Colombo. - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/ #SriLanka #SriLankaElections2020 #AljazeeraEnglish

Rajapaksa is hoping to install his older brother who is also a former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as prime minister.

The brothers are best known for crushing Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils during the elder Rajapaksa's presidency in 2009.

President Rajapaksa said he was pleased by the voting on Wednesday. “As the first South Asian country to hold general elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it reflects the confidence that the people have in our efforts to control this pandemic,” he said.”

The tourism-dependent island nation of 21 million people has been struggling since deadly Islamist militant attacks on hotels and churches last year followed by lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus.



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