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Sri Lanka’s Presidential elections to begin on Saturday

A total of 35 candidates are in fray as around 1.6 crore people are eligible to exercise their franchise.

The main contest is between former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajpaksa and Minister Sajith Premadasa. Both candidates have campaigned mainly on the plank of national security and good governance. 

This is the first time in country’s history that neither of sitting President or Prime minister are contesting the elections. The counting of votes will begin after end of polling and results are expected by Sunday.

A candidate needs to poll over 50 percent of valid votes to be declared winner, else the second preference votes has to be counted. 

Over 60 thousand police personnel and eight thousand civil defence personnel have been deployed island-wide to ensure free and fair polls.

The election campaign stretching over a month has remained largely peaceful except for incidents of fake news and misinformation.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya has said that the commission continues to receive complaints regarding the spread of misinformation, hate speech, posts and images promoting candidates on social media.

He warned social media users that if this situation continues to persist, they would have to resort to blocking social media in the country. 

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