Nearly 59,000 police personnel are to be deployed to ensure a free and fair general election scheduled for April 8.

Contrary to the January 26 presidential election, so far the campaign has been relatively peaceful.

Though it is considered to be mainly a contest between the ruling combine — United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the main opposition United National Party under the charge of Ranil Wickremesinghe — 7,620 candidates from 36 political parties and 306 independent groups are in the fray for 225 seats.

A team of 16 election monitoring officers from Asian Network for Free Election are in the island nation at the invitation of an NGO, the People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL).

They are to be divided into eight groups and will start the process of observation from Sunday. They would mainly focus in the districts in the North and East where violence is likely to occur.

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