Ban voices relief at relatively peaceful conclusion to Sri Lankan presidential poll

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27 January - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed relief today that Sri Lanka's presidential elections have concluded relatively free of violence and he reiterated his call to the country's political parties to abide by the official results and to pursue any concerns peacefully.

Sri Lanka's Department of Elections announced today that the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa was re-elected President after obtaining nearly 58 per cent of the more than 10 million votes cast across the island country. Sarath Fonseka finished second of the 22 candidates with 40 per cent.

“I realize that the election has been quite a hard-fought one,” Mr. Ban said in response to questions from journalists at United Nations Headquarters in New York. These are the first polls conducted in Sri Lanka since a decades-long civil war between Government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended last May.

“I had been concerned at the level of violence during the campaign. I am relieved that the vote yesterday appears to have [been] relatively peaceful, despite some violent incidents.”

Noting that Sri Lankan electoral authorities had declared the results, the Secretary-General appealed to political parties “to abide by the decision and rules and regulations, including addressing any electoral grievances.

“I truly hope that all sides will see the wisdom of acting with restraint and responsibility in the interest of the nation. This would bode well for future elections and national harmony.”