Sporting face masks Sri Lankans throng voting stations for parliament polls
COLOMBO (SRI LANKA) – Polling stations in the island nation witnessed long queues of people wearing masks and maintaining social distancing on Wednesday to elect a new parliament that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes will enable him to bolster his powers.
Sri Lanka, which is heavily dependent on tourism, has been struggling to rebound ever since the deadly Islamic militant attacks on churches and hotels last year and the painful lockdown following the spread of the pandemic.
Gotabaya is seeking a two-thirds majority for his party in the 225-member house to bring in constitutional amendments to give more powers to the presidency in order to implement his economic and national secuirty agenda.
Voting began at 7 am (0130 GMT).
Medical staff were posted to ensure voters maintained COVID protocol while election officials sported transparent face shields.
“There will be no chance of you getting infected by the coronavirus at polling stations,” chairman of the Election Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, said.
“The polling station is safer than the beach, the restaurant and the marketplace, it’s totally corona-free.”
The president had earlier claimed that the he was able to successfully contain the spread of the virus through strict lockdown.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field