Election monitors accuse Sri Lanka military of harassment
COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka's military harassed and intimidated ethnic minority Tamil voters and candidates during the first ever local elections in the former warzone, foreign observers confirmed on Tuesday.
The opposition Tamil party won a landslide victory in weekend elections for a regional council in the battle-scarred north, a poll hailed internationally as a step towards ethnic reconciliation after decades of ethnic war.
The four-member monitoring team from the Commonwealth said turnout was high for the election at 68 per cent despite the military's efforts at intimidation during campaigning and on polling day.
"The role of the military in the electoral campaign was consistently described to the mission as a significant obstacle to a credible electoral process," the Commonwealth secretariat said in a statement.