Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2008

Elections marred by irregularities

May 11, 2008

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— Allegations of fraud, voter intimidation and sporadic violence marred elections in Sri Lanka's east Saturday despite the government's claims they would be a celebration of democracy for the region recently liberated from the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The vote was intended to show that a "new dawn" was coming to the impoverished area, to give minority communities a degree of self-rule and to counter rebel demands for an independent state.

Many voters said the new provincial government should focus on ending the chaos and violence in the east, which is divided among Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

"We hope things will be straightened out," said a doctor voting in the town of Batticaloa, who, like nearly every other voter interviewed, declined to give his name out of fear of reprisals.

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