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First Post-War Polls Held in Sri Lanka's Tamil North བོད་སྐད།


Sri Lanka on Saturday held the first elections in 11 years in two northern Tamil-majority cities near Sri Lanka's former war zone.

Voter turn-out was reportedly mixed in Jaffna and Vavuniya, where people cast their ballots for municipal council members.

Officials say the elections took place without violence.

Independent media was barred from the region, a move criticized by international rights group Reporters Without Borders. Opposition parties said they had to obtain permission to enter the cities for campaigning.

Government officials say the elections are another step towards strengthening democracy in the country, following Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels that killed more than 80,000 people.

The cities are surrounded by government troops and are located near territory that was once held by the Tamil rebels who were vying for a separate state.

Sri Lanka's civil war ended in May with the rebels' defeat, but the brutal final weeks of fighting caused hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

An election was also held in Uva province to the south.

First results are expected Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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