Sri Lankans trickled into polling centers early on Saturday to elect a new president to its island-nation still fighting to recuperate from Easter Sunday strikes on churches and resorts which have weighed its tourism-dependent market.
Former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who oversaw the army defeat of Tamil separatists 10 decades back, and authorities ministry Sajith Premadasa are secured in a close struggle, analysts and politicians say.
Rajapaksa has pledged to overhaul national safety, playing on the fears of most Sinhalese Buddhists after the April attacks claimed by Islamic State that killed over 250 people.
Premadasa has hunted to fire up the countryside together with promises of free home, school uniforms for pupils and sanitary pads for girls — touching on a subject rarely discussed in public everywhere in south Asia but that has attracted women to his agendas.
There were no accidents but witnesses said that tires were burning.
Approximately 16 million people are entitled to vote, together with all the ballot permitting voters to pick up to 3 candidates in order of preference.
Votes will be counted shortly after polling stations close however, the outcomes aren’t anticipated before Sunday.
Muslims who constitute almost 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people, say they’ve faced hostility ever since the April strikes.
That branch has arrived in addition to longstanding grievances of ethnic Tamils, who state they’re still to find justice stemming from the human rights violations throughout a 26-war civil war with Tamil rebels that finished in 2009.