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Sri Lanka starts presidential polling

Sri Lanka starts presidential polling

Colombo: Voting started in Sri Lanka's presidential election Thursday, which is tipped to be a close race with the incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa fighting for an unprecedented third term.

Long lines of voters were observed as polling stations were opened, Xinhua reported.

More than 14.5 million Sri Lankans are eligible to cast their votes at Thursday's polling.

Rajapaksa and New Democratic Front (NDF) candidate Maithripala Sirisena are the main contenders, though 17 others are also in the fray.

"I'm confident that the voting will be peaceful," Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said ahead of the voting.

The Elections Department has put in place elaborate arrangements to ensure that the election is conducted smoothly while special security arrangements, including 71,000 policemen, have been assigned by the police and security forces.

There will be 1,400 counting centers across nation.

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