Ban appeals for post-election restraint in Sri Lanka as challenger arrested

Supporters of Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapkasa at a rally in the capital Colombo

8 February 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is reiterating his appeal to all parties in Sri Lanka and their supporters to show restraint and refrain from violence after the reported arrest of the defeated opposition presidential candidate.

Responding to questions from journalists today, a spokesperson for Mr. Ban noted that “the peaceful conduct of the first post-conflict national election and its aftermath is of the highest importance for long term peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”

The Secretary-General is also urging Sri Lankans to adhere to the electoral laws and to avoid provocative acts, not only in the election period, but also during the post-election stage.

The statement follows media reports that Sri Lankan troops have arrested Sarath Fonseka, a former army chief who received 40 per cent of the vote in the 27 January election, citing “military offences.”

Mr. Fonseka came second to the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was re-elected President after obtaining nearly 58 per cent of the more than 10 million votes cast.

After last month’s announcement of results by Sri Lankan electoral authorities, the Secretary-General appealed to political parties “to abide by the decision and rules and regulations, including addressing any electoral grievances.”


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