Sri Lankan election: in pictures

As a war-scarred nation heads to the polls, here are images from the turbulent run-up to the preside

Sri Lankans are voting in the country's first election since the Tamil Tigers were crushed. Above, a supporter at an election rally wears a swan mask. Swans are the election symbol of the former army commander and opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka.

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Supporters of the incumbent president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, attend another rally.

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An opposition activist, Tiran Alles, addresses the media from his house, damaged in a grenade attack that has been blamed on the ruling party.

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Buddhist monks pray at a "prayer of determination" ceremony.

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Sri Lankan cyclists pass an election poster in Vavuniya, north of Colombo. It is estimated that between 80,000 and 100,000 people died during the insurgency, which lasted nearly 40 years.

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Wreckage at the home of Tiran Alles, campaign manager for Sarath Fonseka.

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Rickshaws adorned with Fonseka's image.

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In Vavuniya a displaced ethnic Tamil, Sithambaram Ratnasingam, displays her passport after she was denied permission to vote today.

 

All photographs from AFP/Getty Images.

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Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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