Sri Lankans went to polls on Saturday to elect representatives to provincial councils, which in a way might be a form of referendum on a resolution against Sri Lanka adopted at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Elections for the western and southern provincial councils got underway with both the government and the opposition confident of coming out on top, Xinhua reported.

The government is confident of winning the elections and says it will use the results to tell the international community that the public have opposed international intervention in Sri Lanka.

The government rejected the resolution adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Thursday which called for an international investigation in Sri Lanka over alleged civil war crimes.

Meanwhile, the main opposition is seeking a mandate to push for early presidential and general elections to remove the Mahinda Rajapaksa government.

Over 6,898,418 people in the southern and western provinces are eligible to vote on Saturday. Over 3,700 candidates from 25 recognised political parties and 15 independent groups are contesting for 155 seats in the two provincial councils.

The incumbent government has won successive elections following the end of the civil war in 2009, except elections in the Tamil-dominated north of the country held last year.

The government feels a majority of Sri Lankans support the end of the 30-year war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels and fears the resolution in Geneva will hurt attempts to reconcile the country.

However, most Tamil political parties, including the main Tamil party in Sri Lanka, the Tamil National Alliance, are backing an international investigation to ensure accountability and justice for the victims of the war.