Sri Lankans are casting ballots on Thursday in local council elections widely seen as a referendum on the governing coalition led by President Mahinda Rajapakse.
The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance faces competition from the Marxist People's Liberation Front. The liberation front backed Mr. Rajapakse in November's presidential elections but is running its own candidates in the local polls.
Elections in Tamil rebel-dominated areas in the north and east have been postponed for six months due to security concerns.
The Tamil Tiger rebels boycotted November's presidential elections and kept minority Tamils away from polling stations by intimidating them.