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08 April, 2010 - Published 16:06 GMT

"Turn out very low" - Election monitors

Election monitors said that the voter turn out has been very low in the 2010 general elections with some incidents of violence in various parts of the country.

The Election Department said that it would not give out voter turnout percentage until final results are declared.

Our correspondents said that there had been more shopping for the Sinahala and Tamil New Year than voting in the elections.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa cast his ballot early on Thursday at D.A.Rajapaksa Maha Vidyalaya , Medamulana in the Hambantota district.

The President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by his family members arrived at the polling station with a heavy security presence.

"We have ended terrorism. Now I am looking forward to a strong parliament", President Rajapaksa told Upali Gajanayaka, Sandesaya special correspondent after casting his vote.

He said it may be decided by the people whether it is two third or five sixth majorities.

Explaining why he needed a strong parliament, the president said that it was only by a strong government that he could reunite the country.

"It is only through a strong parliament that we can piece together the broken hearts of the people," he said.

President further said that the government had demonstrated in this short time that they are capable of bringing economic and other developments in the country.

Opposition

Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe who was at the Sri Vardanaramaya Temple in Bambalapitiya appealed to people to come and vote.

"Do not miss this opportunity. It is our wish that elections will be free and fair. We request voters to give a mandate to the Democratic National Alliance (DNA)." United National Party leader Wickremasinghe said.

When asked by Sandesaya correspondent Elmo Fernando was it because of the low turn out that he made this strong appeal for people to vote, opposition leader Ranil Wikcremasinghe said that people were very quiet before the election.

Anura Kumara Dissanayaka of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) who voted at a polling station at Maligawatta expressed concerns over the low turn out of voters.

However, he said that a strong team from Gen.Sarath Fonseka's party, DNA should be elected to parliament.

"We are confident that this team will be able to form a government in parliament with other political parties within a couple of months. That is our biggest hope." said the JVP parliamentarian.

The leader of the Vamansika Vimukthi Peramuna , Dr.Wickremabahu Karunaratne said that his party is confident of getting at least three seats in parliament.

He said that Sinhala voter has not reached out to his party policies in a big way. Even the Tamil votes might fall into UNP but those who are really moving towards the right direction – ‘self-determination’ would vote for him, added Dr.Karunaratne.