Sri Lankans vote in key provincial election to determine self- or govt-rule
BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka (AP) - Sri Lankans voted on Saturday in a provincial assembly election seen as a test of whether ethnic minority Tamils still want self-rule or are satisfied with government-led economic development in a region devastated by a quarter-century civil war.
As of midday, only small numbers of voters had turned out at polling booths in Batticaloa, one of three districts in Eastern Province. Voters were electing 35 members of the Eastern Provincial Council from 1,470 candidates.
More than a million people were eligible to vote in the three districts.
The Tamil National Alliance, the main Tamil political party, is seeking to control a provincial assembly for the first time and hopes a victory will be seen internationally as a mandate for more power-sharing in Tamil-majority areas.