COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka's main opposition party and its allies appeared headed for victory Thursday in parliamentary elections, though officials summoned all political parties for a meeting to decide whether polling should be redone in areas marred by violence.
Vote tallying from Wednesday's elections was stopped in Kandy and Gampaha, the districts hit hardest by violence. More than 60 people have died since campaigning began Oct. 21, the worst election violence in Sri Lanka's 53 years of independence.
About 130,000 minority Tamils were unable to reach the polls after the army closed roads in the northeast, saying it had evidence that Tamil rebels planned to disrupt the vote.
Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said he was aware of "some disturbances" in that region, but he did not say whether balloting would be redone in Tamil areas affected by the blockades.
He said his decision to call the parties together today meant that final results would be delayed until then.
Independent monitors have asked the election commission to annul the results in districts where armed gangs shot at voters, snatched and burned ballots, and blocked access to the polls with vehicles and felled trees.
The United National Party, which governed the tropical island for 17 years until President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance came to power in 1994, had secured 40 of Parliament's 225 seats, compared with 29 for the government party, the commission said.
With almost half the polling zones counted, the UNP and its allies were ahead 49% to 37%, it said.
According to a group of independent political analysts, no single party will win a majority, but the opposition alliance will have the best chance to form a government, with a probable 125 seats versus the governing alliance's 100.
The government extended a curfew that began Wednesday night, saying it would continue until 6 a.m. today.
Kumaratunga has said she may refuse to appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister, even if his alliance wins. She can suspend Parliament or call new elections if legislators defy her choice for prime minister.
The key election issues were the sinking economy and the separatist war that has killed more than 64,000 of Sri Lanka's 19 million people. Kumaratunga wants to intensify the war, while Wickremesinghe says he would pursue peace talks.