Sri Lanka election factfile

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 08, 2010 06:20 hrs

Sri Lanka is holding its first parliamentary elections since the end of its war with Tamil Tiger rebels. The polls are expected to result in a comfortable victory for President Mahinda Rajapakse's ruling party and cement his hold on power.

ELECTORATE: 14.08 million men and women over the age of 18 years can vote at more than 11,000 polling booths nationwide manned by over 100,000 officials. Police have deployed nearly 60,000 officers with 20,000 troops on stand by.

CANDIDATES: A total of 7,620, representing 36 political parties and 310 independent groups.

MAIN PARTIES: Rajapakse's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance, main opposition United National Party, Democratic National Alliance, and Tamil National Alliance.

MAIN ISSUES: The ruling party is seeking a two thirds majority that would enable it to amend the constitution and bring about unspecified reforms. It might also allow two-term president Rajapakse to seek a third term.

KEY PLAYERS

President Mahinda Rajapakse: Although not a candidate, Rajapakse remains his ruling party's main draw given his popularity after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers last May.

General Sarath Fonseka: The former army chief who lost to Rajapakse in January's presidential election is contesting a seat despite being in military custody undergoing court martial.

Ranil Wickremesinghe: Opposition leader and former prime minister who has accused the ruling party of multiple campaign violations.

GOVERNMENT: Presidential system with a unicameral parliament. Both are separately elected for a six-year term with the president having executive power and the 225-member parliament controlling finances and having legislative power. Local government through provincial councils was established in 1987.



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