Sri Lanka to Print 66cm Long Ballot Paper for Presidential Polls

People attend an election campaign rally in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Oct. 10, 2019. Sri Lanka's Elections Commission on Thursday said the ballot paper for the upcoming presidential elections would be 26 inches (66 cm), the longest in Sri Lankan history, due to a record number of 35 candidates running for presidency this year. Photo: Gayan Sameera / Xinhua

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Xinhua) — Sri Lanka’s Elections Commission on Thursday said the ballot paper for the upcoming presidential elections would be 26 inches (66 cm), the longest in Sri Lankan history, due to a record number of 35 candidates running for presidency this year.

Local media reports, quoting Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, said that the ballot paper would incur additional printing costs and bigger ballot boxes would have to be set up in all voting centers cross the island country to store the longer ballot papers.

Voters will be required to mark the candidate of their choice on the ballot paper and fold it and insert it in the ballot boxes.

The ballot boxes will later be taken to the countering centers after voting ends.

According to the Elections Commission, this year’s number of candidates tops the previous record of 22 candidates who took part in the 2010 election.

Nearly 16 million out of Sri Lanka’s total population of 21 million will be eligible to vote in the election which will be held on Nov. 16.

The candidates running for presidency this year include Sajith Premadasa who is the presidential candidate of the ruling United National Front, Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is the presidential candidate of the main opposition, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, and Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, from the minority Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

Sajith Premadasa is the deputy leader of the United National Party, which is the largest party in the ruling United National Front Alliance while Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and he served as the defense secretary in the previous government.

Sri Lanka’s presidential polls are set nearly two months before the incumbent’s term ends.