The upcoming Sri Lankan general elections to elect a new 225-member Parliament scheduled to take place on August 5, will be the most expensive in the history of the island-nation, according to a senior poll official.
Mahinda Deshapriya, chief of the Election Commission (EC) of Sri Lanka, told the Daily Mirror newspaper on Friday that the EC was trying to keep the cost at 10 billion LKR and ensuring that expenses do not surpass this mark due to several health measures which have to be adopted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the deployment of additional staff as a result.
"We are trying to limit it. This is the most expensive election in history as we have to deploy additional staff along with face masks, sanitizers and all other health guidelines.
"We hope we can reduce the cost and keep it at 10 billion LKR," Deshapriya said.
He told the Daily Mirror that those under self-quarantine in their homes due to the COVID-19 virus could cast their votes following clearance received by the Health Ministry and arrangements would be made to allocate a separate time for them.
Voting, which will begin at 7 a.m., has been extended by an additional hour until 5 p.m.
The elections initially set to be held on April 25, were postponed twice due to restrictions linked to the pandemic.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had dissolved Parliament in March following his landslide victory in the November 2019 presidential polls.
The President's Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party has to win majority in the house in order to secure the government's full control in the semi-presidential representative democracy.