Memos from Asia

Sri Lanka Voted Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

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For the first time in history, Sri Lanka witnessed a general election during an ongoing pandemic, and this the very first election of South Asia since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The collaboration of health authorities and the election commission implemented a new set of guidelines to be followed during voting to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Health authorities stated that the highest possible measures would be taken to assure safety at polling stations.

Sri Lankan election commission frequently encouraged the public to vote as it is an inherent right of the citizens.

They kept sharing new guidelines through posters and educational videos, increasing awareness among people.

The vote is your right, your strength, your future, and your power

Sri Lankan election commission chairman Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya exemplified that it is safe to vote for citizens especially, elderly citizens, while being at a polling station as a voter after nine years of postal voting.

At the polling station, hand washing facilities and sanitizers were provided to the public to disinfect their hands. This time people were requested to bring their own pen to cast a vote. Maximum precautions were taken to minimize the spread of coronavirus from ballot papers.

A journalist tweeted a post showing how actively citizens participated in electing a new parliament for the country following all the new rules and regulations.

Although many social media convos predicted that voter turnout would be very low due to unprecedented regulations, nearly 71% of eligible voters have cast a ballot to appoint the 9th parliament of Sri Lanka.

Even though it is a bit lower than the previous general election, which was 77%, His Excellency, President Gotabaya Rajapaksha, has tweeted that he is grateful for the faith people kept upon the government.

Not just the corona makes this special, but another noteworthy fact is two former presidents, two sons of former presidents, and two sons of former prime ministers of Sri Lanka were contesting as candidates for the general election 2020.

The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) appraised the endeavor in the election posting a tweet.

Peaceful and safe election

Finally, Sri Lanka made history proving out even a pandemic couldn’t stop them from appointing their parliament for the country.

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