Minimum needed to win Sri Lanka’s Presidential election

Amidst all the hyper analysis about Sri Lanka’s Presidential election, one fact seems to be getting lost: the minimum needed to win it. Perhaps the answer is so obvious as to be missed by Googling.

My understanding it that who ever gets 50% of valid votes plus 1 vote will get the crown. If there’s no clear majority even with the preferential votes, there’ll have to be a run off election between the two main contenders.

Is that correct?

I’m sure you experts out there know how to use the comment box.


17 thoughts on “Minimum needed to win Sri Lanka’s Presidential election

  1. Not exactly.

    In presidential elections there is a second (third as well) preference that the voters can cast. So if none of the candidates get above 50% then the 2nd preferences are counted. Even if that doesn’t help, the third preference is considered. Even if that doesn’t help, then we get to your scenario.


      1. The last time I voted, apart from the main vote there were two other options / preferences / choices (whatever you want to call it) so you can cast your vote. So, for example even if you cast your vote for MR then you can cast your second preference for SF and the third for someone else. Or you could cast all three of your preferences for the same candidate. Or you could cast only one. Is that changed now? I don’t know.


      2. No preference in this election. Vote is not the factor to select President. But only one person will appoint as a president if you like or not . It is the five star Democracy in Sri Lanka


  2. @ Sach – you are thinking of the general and/or provincial council elections where you vote for the party and along with that you get 3 preference votes for candidates from that party. In the presidential election you get only one vote for a party linked to a candidate.


  3. MR will win with a landslide victory.
    There will be 100s of complaints to the election commisioner.
    Lots of violance.
    The normal man will have to simply wake up and got work another day.

    Not even worth effort of voting.


    1. @Sach

      My apologies – I just received this mail from an old family friend:

      Note on Voting at Presidential Elections

      This note for purposes of voter education is compiled by the Friday Forum, a gathering of concerned citizens which includes many distinguished elder citizens. The Forum took the initiative of preparing this document because of the observation that many citizens, irrespective of the level of education, are not fully aware of the manner in which one has to cast the vote at presidential elections. This simple step by step guide, we hope, will promote effective participation in the election process.

      First, check whether your name is in the voter registration list. By this time, you should have received your polling card in the mail. If you have not received it check whether your name is duly entered in the voter registration list. You can check the list with the registering officer of your electoral district.

      NOTE THAT YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE THE POLLING CARD TO VOTE IF YOUR NAME IS IN THE REGISTRATION LIST. Make sure that you carry with you your NIC or any other recognized picture ID with you when you go to vote.

      At the 2010 presidential election, each voter is entitled to vote for THREE candidates if he/she wishes to, as there are more than three candidates contesting the election. Note that the preferences should be cast for three different candidates and not for one candidate alone. It is important that the preferences are marked as 1, 2 and 3 in the box next to the names and symbols of your preferred candidates in the order of preference. If the number ‘1’ is not marked against any candidate that means your entire ballot is invalid, even if you have marked ‘2’ and ‘3’ for other candidates. However, a vote marked clearly in any other manner (e.g. ‘X’) will be counted if the counting officer is satisfied that the mark clearly indicates the intention of the voter. In such an instance the second and third preferences must be marked clearly (e.g. ‘X’ for first preference and then ‘2’ and ‘3’ ). Otherwise, the entire ballot paper will be rejected.

      Marking the second and third preferences is very important if there is a second count. If no candidate gets more than 50% o of the votes cast, then there will be a second count. What happens in the second round of counting is that the preferences marked for the two highest scoring candidates ON THE BALLOT PAPERS OF OTHER CANDIDATES (now eliminated) are counted. The candidate who wins the highest number of votes in this manner will be declared the winner even if 50% of the vote is not obtained.

      Note that your ballot paper could be rejected for various reasons. Therefore, make sure that it has the official mark; that you do not write your name or anything else on it that will make it possible to identify you; that you have clearly marked your preferences beginning with “ 1” next to your first preference.


  4. There was a lovely supplement to the Sunday Times in 2005 that clearly explained the whole procedure… I was trying to catch an online copy of it but didn’t find anything yet… 😦


  5. ignorance of the kottu cocoon bloggers about elections ( even those lecturing sri lankan ‘natives’ about politics) on display . lol
    clearly most of them have not voted before.


  6. “NOTE THAT YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE THE POLLING CARD TO VOTE IF YOUR NAME IS IN THE REGISTRATION LIST. Make sure that you carry with you your NIC or any other recognized picture ID with you when you go to vote.”

    Nothing new. This has been the practice for at least last 20 years or so. Are many of these bloggers first time voters ? Explains a lot.


  7. Thank you everyone for your info etc. There’s quite a few crazy rumours floating around.

    I don’t understand is this thing about looking down at first time voters. Equally asking questions about election procedures when you hear suspicious claims about them seen frowned upon.

    Its been an insane couple of days and its looking doubtful I’ll be able to cough out a post. The conversations I have been overhearing have been interesting. They have confirmed some convictions at least.


  8. Watch out! Watch out! Publish an article on the ways and means by which notorious experts will resort to vote rigging!
    Is it possible also that some names will be taken out of the register through various means in different areas specially known to be supportive of certian parties?

    Also give details on how dead people walk into polling booths on polling dates??


    1. Vote rigging is very advanced in Sri Lanka. Politicians who wish to come to the politics in other countries they have to get tuition from Sri Lanka empowered Government because they know modern techniques and latest tactics.


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