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Home › Activities › Election Monitoring › Presidential Election

Presidential Election

The electoral system in Sri Lanka operates at three levels-national, sub-national and local.

For purposes of holding elections, the country has been divided into 22 electoral districts. Of these 22, 20 are co-terminous with 20 of the 25 districts into which the country has been divided for administrative purposes. One of the other two electoral districts has been formed by combining three administrative districts. The 22 electoral districts have been sub-divided into 160 polling divisions.

Presidential and Parliamentary elections are the ones that are held nationally.  Elections to Provincial Councils are held sub-nationally while elections to Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas are conducted at local level.

The current system of Presidential government came into being with the passage of the present Constitution in 1978. Under the previous Constitution, which had come into being in 1972, the President was appointed by the Prime Minister and the office of the President was a nominal one as she/he was, except under certain provisions in the Constitution, always required to act on the advice of the Prime Minister or of such other Minister to whom the Prime Minister may have given authority to advice the President on any particular function assigned to the Minister. The present Constitution provides for a President with executive power and he act as the head of the state, head of the government and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

In Presidential elections, the entire country becomes the electorate and a voter is entitled to one vote. To be declared elected, a candidate needs to secure more than 50 per cent of the total number of valid votes cast. The term of office of a President is six years and can be re-elected to office any number of times.


Past Elections

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