Archive for the ‘Media reports’ Category
Download the final report on election related violence and malpractices during the Presidential Election 2010 in English here (Warning: PDF size ~120Mb).
To view the complete report online, click here or see below. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the report will be available soon.
20 April 2010, Sri Lanka, 5pm: Re-polling in 34 polling centers in Nawalapitiya Polling Division, Kandy District and in Kumburupitiya Polling Station (Number 78), Trincomalee Polling Division, Trincomalee District was carried out between 7 am and 4pm today. CMEV monitored the re-polling with 4 mobile teams and 34 stationary monitors in Nawalapitiya and 1 mobile team and 1 stationary monitor in Kumburupitiya.
In both districts CMEV reported nine (09) incidents during the polling period including incidents of attempted impersonation, illegal casting of ballots, verbal abuse of SPOs, transporting of voters and impersonation of monitors.
CMEV notes that there were few incidents of election related violence during this re-poll. This is a significant change from April 8th when a high number of incidents were reported which resulted in the Commissioner of Elections calling for a re-poll. The violence free environment can be attributed to a high presence of police and military around polling stations. CMEV estimates a provisional voter turnout of 65% in Nawalapitiya and 46% in Kumburupitiya, Trincomalee. This demonstrates a lack of interest among voters in the present election.
CMEV reiterates the importance of free and fair elections which reinforce public confidence and ensures the integrity of the poll. CMEV has continuously called for and reiterates its call again for the immediate implementation of the 17th Amendment and the establishment of the Election Commission.
At the close of polls the following incidents were reported to CMEV:
Verbal Abuse of a SPO: CMEV Election Observer reported that Luxman Kirielle, UNP Candidate (No.08) and Ravi Karunanayake (UNP MP elected from Colombo district) had come to the Polling Station No. 05, (Senadhikari National School) at Udahenthanne around 11.40am. When the SPO informed them that Ravi Karunanayake was not entitled to enter the Polling Station, Luxmam Kirielle had verbally abused the SPO and left the polling station.
Illegal Casting of Ballot in Nawalapitiya: CMEV Election Observer reported that a person with a bogus ballot paper attempted to vote around 1.15pm at Warakawa junior school Polling Station No. 36, in Nawalapitiya Electorate in the Kandy District. This is the second such incident reported from this Polling Station today. The earlier incident took place at around 10.10am.
Attempted Impersonation: CMEV Election Observer reported an attempt at voter impersonation at M.S. Aluthgamage Maha Vidyalaya Polling Station No. 17, in Nawalapitiya Electorate where a voter had come to cast his vote with his National ID card and his father’s Polling Card. When the Electoral Register was examined it was revealed that the name of the person with the NIC was not in the Register. He was handed over to the police by the SPO for attempting voter impersonation.
9 April 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: On Election Day CMEV recorded 84 Major Incidents, including 53 incidents of Intimidation within the vicinity of polling centers. This figure includes 07 incidents of involving election officials, 07 incidents of Threat and Intimidation and 06 Assaults. CMEV has recorded 189 incidents of election law violations as well. When compared to the last Presidential election, there were a higher number of incidents of election related violence on the day of the poll.
We wish to record our deep concern about incidents in which polling agents were evicted from polling stations, sometimes forcefully. Furthermore, there were cases of voter obstruction and alleged attempts to rig the results reported from Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee. We have received numerous reports regarding voter impersonation in Puttalam, Kathankudy, Akkraipattu and Pottuvil.
According to CMEV field reports, the failure of polling agents to report objections relating to malpractice and irregularities, the absence of opposition polling agents and the deliberate failure of many SPOs to implement the law with regards to verifying the identity of voters, greatly facilitated voter impersonation.
CMEV also wishes to express its concern about the confusion and disarray relating to the application of indelible ink on the ring finger of voters. There has been a clear disregard of the Election Commissioner’s directive relating to this practice. During the first few hours of polling, ink was applied to both the ring and the little fingers of many voters. CMEV received such reports from all over the country, particularly Vavuniya, Deraniyagala, Colombo, Wattala, Puttalam, Kalawewa and Minneriya. When CMEV questioned this malpractice, many SPOs stated that they were unaware of the Commissioner’s directive on this matter.
CMEV notes that the Election Commissioner has suspended the counting of ballots from 34 polling stations in Nawalapitiya, and one polling station in the Trincomalee District. CMEV requested the Election Commissioner to annul polling in the Nawalapitiya electorate due to complaints received from the field about violence and irregularities. However, as of yet the Election Commissioner has not issued a gazette notification on his decision to annul the ballots in these polling stations and hold a second poll in them.
CMEV has received a number of complaints regarding the transparency of procedures followed by election officials at polling centers. According to the complaints received, officers who issued ballot papers to voters had marked the voters’ registration number on the counter foil of the ballot paper. Complainants’ claimed that this practice directly affected the secrecy of their vote. When CMEV contacted the Election Commissioner’s department regarding this issue, CMEV was informed that this is a normal procedure followed in polling centers and that at the closure of the polling centre all counter foils should be sealed, to be reopened only upon the receipt of a direct court order. The department further added that this procedure serves to safeguard the secrecy of voter identity.
CMEV learnt that people were suspicious and even fearful of this procedure, believing that their ballot papers could be traced. We urge the Election Commissioner to keep people well informed about election procedures, allay their doubts and fears, thereby ensuring increased and unfettered participation of voters in any election.
On the basis of the reports received from its monitors throughout the campaign and on Polling Day, CMEV concludes that as in the Presidential Election, the integrity of the electoral process has been undermined by violence and malpractice and strongly urges all actors to treat this seriously and take effective action to protect and strengthen the integrity of the process. We also conclude that despite this, the overall result does reflect the will of the electorate. CMEV also wishes to underscore the point that election monitors are not allowed to observe the counting of votes.
CMEV is concerned about post-election violence. CMEV highlights the importance of the immediate post-election period, and calls upon party leaders to demonstrate their commitment and respect for the rule of law by deterring post-election lawlessness among their party supporters, and political vengeance against opponents.
CMEV continues to receive reports relating to incidents of post-election violence. A CMEV stationary monitor was assaulted by an unknown group and his observation forms snatched in Nawalapitiya, yesterday (April 8th), at around 1930 hours.
Today (April 9th) CMEV received reports detailing a clash between supporters of UPFA candidate C.B.Ratnayake (candidate no. 02) and Saliya Bandara Dissanayke, Chairman of the Central Provincial Council, in Ragala, Brookside, at around 1715 hours.
CMEV learnt that Saliya campaigned in support of UPFA candidate Naveen Dissanayake (candidate no. 04), and that H.M.Dharmapala, a supporter of Ratnayake, received a gunshot wound to the hip. This injury was allegedly inflicted by Saliya. Dharmapala has since been admitted to the District Hospital. Ralgala Police Station confirmed this incident.
Today CMEV also received reports regarding another shooting in Millawana, Matale at around 1700 hours, allegedly committed by Naradha Millawana, a UPFA member of Pallepola Pradeshiya Sabha. L.D.Nandasiri, a former member of Galewala Pradeshiya Sabha, was grievously wounded in his right eye and was admitted to the Matale General Hospital. He has subsequently been transported to the Kandy General Hospital.
CMEV also received reports regarding a clash between supporters of UPFA candidates Pavithra Wanniarachchi (candidate no. 02) and John Senaviratne (candidate no. 09) near the residence of Pavithra, located in Rilhena, Pelmadulla at around 1800 hours today. When contacted, Kahawatha Police informed CMEV that a tense situation had arisen when the two groups confronted each other, but that both groups had dispersed before the situation worsened. CMEV learnt that the alleged perpetrator was a supporter of UPFA candidate Lakshman Wasantha Perera (candidate no. 01).
CMEV is concerned about the increased intra party violence during the campaign and in the post-election period, and reiterates its call to political parties, in particular the ruling party alliance, to refrain from violence.
8 April 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1.30pm: Polls for the Parliamentary Elections opened at 7 am this morning. A few major incidents of pre-poll violence against party supporters and polling agents were reported to the Centre for Monitoring Elections (CMEV). Following the commencement of polls a significant number of incidents mainly related to the continuing campaigning by political parties and their supporters were reported.
Problems with Procedures Relating to Voting
Discrepancies relating to Marking of Finger for Voting Purposes
CMEV was also informed of discrepancies in the use of indelible ink at polling centres across the country. This pertains to the finger that is to be marked signifying that an individual has cast their vote. Reports of discrepancies were from Colombo, Jaffna and Vavuniya districts where voters informed that either the little finger or the ring finger was used. There were also reports of the ink being easily removed by voters. In a notice issued on 7th April, the Commissioner of Elections reported that the ring finger was to be marked with indelible ink. Several voters informed CMEV that polling agents who were questioned on the use of the little finger instead of the ring finger as informed by the Commissioner, stated that they were unaware of such a notice. CMEV is concerned with the discrepancies in the practice of marking the finger which can lead to malpractices and to people voting more than once. CMEV urges the Commissioner and his department to immediately inform all relevant election officials of the recommended practice and to ensure that the uniform practice is followed.
Problems with Transport Arrangements for IDPs:
CMEV was informed that more than 100 voters who were residents in Manik Farm in Vavuniya were transported to Vavuniya Tamil Maha Vidyalaya instead of polling centres located in Oddusudan, Arivithotam and Nedunkeni at 10am. CMEV was informed by the Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) for transportation in Vavuniya that the IDPs had mistakenly got into the wrong bus. CMEV also spoke to several IDPs who informed that no information was given when buses had arrived at Manik Farm and that they were unaware of the exact measures for transportation. CMEV was informed by the ARO that this problem was being addressed. CMEV urges the Commissioner of Elections and his staff to take all measures necessary to ensure that all IDP voters are provided correct information in all languages and the transportation to polling centres without delay and hindrance..
Threatening of Polling Agents
Kandy District, Nawalapitiya Polling Division, Dolosbage Polling Centers (no. 10-15)
UNP Secretary for Nawalapitiya Polling Division reported to CMEV that an unidentified group of individuals wearing masks have threatened the party agents of the United National Party(UNP) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) at their homes. It is alleged that the group had forcibly taken the appointment letters, electoral lists and identity cards belonging to the party agents. They were also threatened not to make police complaints.
Threatening of Monitors
Puttalam District, Puttalam Polling Division, Palliwasalturei Muslim College Polling Station(no. 60):
CMEV monitors were threatened and warned not to monitor the polling process by the supporters of UPFA candidates Rishad Badudeen (No.01 of Wanni District) and K.A. Bais (No.01 of Puttalam District) when they attempted to enter Palliwasalturei Muslim College Polling Station at about 6.00 a.m.
Major Incident: Refusing Access to Monitors
Matara District , Deniyaya Electorate , Varalla MV, Polling Station (no 08)
CMEV Monitor reports that they were not allowed into the Polling Station at 8.00 am, by the Police official in charge, even after examination of his documents.
Continuous Campaigning on Election Day
CMEV received multiple reports from a number of districts relating to campaigning by political parties and their supporters after polls had opened. The main violation is the distribution of campaign material in close proximity to polling stations.
NORTH CENTRAL PROVINCE
PolonnaruwaDistrict,Polonnaruwa Polling Division, Polonnaruwa Royal Central College (No. 85) 7:40 am:
CMEV Monitor to Polonnaruwa reported that some leaflets displaying the preferential number of UNP candidates Earl Gunasekare (no 4) and Sachini Jayaratne (no 3) were seen scattered on the road to the polling station.
Polonnaruwa District, Polonnaruwa Polling Division, Polonnaruwa Royal Central Primary College (no. 85). 7:30 am
CMEV Monitor reported that some leaflets displaying the preferential numbers of UPFA candidates Maithripala Sirisena (no. 7) and Roshan Ranasinghe (no. 1) were distributed in the vicinity of the polling station.
Anuradhapura District,Kalawewa Polling Division, Mahasen Maha Vidyalaya Polling Station (no. 06), 7:55 am
CMEV mobile correspondent reported that approximately six supporters of UPFA candidate Duminda Dissanayake (n 6) were seen standing near the polling station wearing tea-shirts displaying the preferential number 06 of DumindaDissanayake
Anuradhapura District, Horowpatana Polling Division ,Mahakumbukwewa Vidyalaya (no. 32)
CMEV Mobile corresepondent reported at 7.40 am that some leaflets belonging to UPFA candidate S.M. Chandrasena (number 11), UNP candidate Sirisena Herath (number 12), and DNA candidate K.D.Lalkantha (number 7) were being distributed around the polling station.
Anuradhapura District, Anuradhapura Polling Division,Funeral community Hall Polling station (no. 37)
CMEV Mobile correspondent reported that some leaflets of UPFA candidate Duminda Disanayake (no 6) were being distributed at around 7.45 am near the polling station by his supporters who arrived there in an ash color cab without number plates
Anuradhapura District, Horowpathana Polling Division, Kahatagasdigiliya Central College -Hall No 02 Polling Station (no 37):
CMEV Mobile representative reported that some leaflets displaying the preferential numbers of UPFA candidate Weerakumara Dissanayake(n 37) were being distributed at around 7.10 am between Upuldeniya Cross Road and Kahatagasdigiliya Central College Polling station.
Kegalle District, Kegalle Polling Division, Pussella Gamini Junior School (no. 18):
CMEV monitor reported at 8.35 am that two members of the UPFA were seen distributing cards bearing the party symbol of the UPFA betel leaf and the candidate numbers of Jagath Balasooriya, (no. 2) and Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, (no. 8), in front of the polling station.
Kegalle District, Rambukkana Polling Division, Muwapitiya Maha Vidyalaya (no.24) :
CMEV mobile monitor reported at 8.45 am that a large number of posters belonging to UPFA candidates no. 8 Ranjith Siyambalapitiya (no. 8), Kanaka Hertat (no. 4) and Susanthika Jayasinghe (no. 12) were prominently displayed in close proximity to the polling station.
Kegalle District, Rambukkana Polling Division, Sujatha Kanishta Vidyalaya, Polling Station (no 21):
CMEV Mobile Monitor reported at 7.10 am that a three wheeler (Vehicle number 201-3853), bearing campaign stickers of candidate UPFA Kanaka Herath (no. 4) was parked near the polling station.
Kegalle District, Rambukkana Polling Division, RambukkanaPinnawalaMahaVidyalaya, Polling Station (no 27):
CMEV mobile monitor reported that at 7.00am, a Pajero (Vehicle number 32-7383), completely covered in campaign stickers of candidate Kanaka Herath (no. 4) was parked in front of the polling station for around ten minutes.
Matale District, Dambulla Polling Division, Namatagahawatta Muslim Maha Vidyalaya polling station, (no. 41)
CMEV mobile monitor reported supporters of UPFA candidate Janaka Bandara Tennakoon (no. 5) had been seen canvassing near the above mentioned polling center requesting the voters to cast their preference for candidate no. 5 at around 8.15 am.
Matale District, Dambulla Polling Division, MalingamuwaRajaye Maha Vidyalaya, (no. 11)
CMEV mobile monitor reported that model ballot papers indicating the preference number of UPFA candidate Janaka Bandara Tennakoon (no. 5) had been distributed around the Malingamuwa Rajaye Maha Vidyalaya polling center at 7.20 am.
Nuwara-Eliya District, Kotmale Polling Division, Kumbaloluwa Polling Center, (no. 45-46), 7.45am
CMEV field monitor reported handbills containing the preferential number of UPFA candidate J.M.C Jayasekara (no 6) had been distributed near the above mentioned polling center.
Kandy District, Nawalapitiya Polling Division, Saint Andrews Boys School Polling Center, (no. 57), 9.00 am: CMEV Field Monitor
CMEV Field Monitor reported that 6 Auto Rickshaws pasted with a poster of the preferential number of UPFA candidate Mahindananda Aluthgamage (no 4) were parked in front of the polling station for around ten minutes. At the same polling centre a group of 20 people had gathered around the auto rickshaws displaying campaign material.
Matale District, Matale Polling Division, Matale Smaliya Muslim Rajaye Maha Vidyalaya Polling Center, (no. 36)
CMEV Monitor reported that a 7 feet cut out of UPFA candidate, Hilmy Careem (no 2) had been prominently displayed near a shop located near the above mentioned polling center and had not been removed.
NORTH WESTERN PROVINCE
Kurunagala District, Galgamuwa Electorae, Janasetha Samurdhi Madura Polling Station (no. 31): The gatekeeper has influenced the voters so as to cast their votes to preferential number 15 of UPFA candidate about 7.45 a.m.
Kurunagala District, Mawathagama Polling Division, Pillassa Maha Vidyalaya Polling Station (no. 26): Some cards displaying the candidate number and the name of the UPFA candidate Johnston Fernando were distributed in the vicinity of the polling station at about 7.50 a.m.
Puttalam District, Puttalam Polling Division, St. Mary’s Junior School Polling Station (no. 36): Some leaflets displaying the candidate numbers of the UPFA candidates Indrani Dassanayake, K.A. Bais and the UNP candidate Kinsleylal Fernando were seen distributed around the polling station about 7.15 a.m.
Puttalam District, Puttalam Polling Division, St. Andrews Central College, Polling Station (no. 28): Some leaflets displaying the preferential numbers of the UPFA candidates Indrani Dassanayake, K.A. Bais and the UNP candidate Kinsleylal Fernando were seen distributed around the polling station about 7.19 a.m.
Trincomalee district, Muttur Polling Division, al-HambraMahaVidyalaya, polling station (no, 30):
CMEV monitor reported that UPFA supporters of S.M. Tawfik (no. 6), have been observed at around 9.30 am openly canvassing for him after polls opened. In some cases, the voters have been offered food and beverages from a boutique located 50 meters away from the polling station.
Transportation of Voters
Ratnapura District, Kolonna Polling Division, Maduwanwela Sri SaranandaVidyalaya, Polling station (no. 76):
CMEV Monitor Reported that a small bus bearing the candidate number of United People’s Freedom Alliance UPFA) candidate (no. 7) transported a group of garment factory workers and other voters to the polling station at around 7.30 am.
Total number of Incidents: 363
Major incidents: 206
Minor incidents: 157
Firearms involved: 49
Intra party disputes
UPFA against UPFA – 72
UNP against UNP – 1
Details here in Sinhala, Tamil and English.
25th March 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: CMEV is deeply concerned by reports alleging attempts to disenfranchise postal voters by officials in their capacity as certifying officers in particular.
CMEV deployed 185 Mobile Monitors and 150 Stationary Monitors today (25 March 2010) to monitor the postal voting and intends to have the same deploy tomorrow.
CMEV recorded 25 postal voting related incidents today. As of 24th March CMEV has recorded a cumulative total of 192 incidents including 121 Major Incidents.
The Major Incidents related to the postal voting are highlighted below:
Zonal Education Office, Warakapola
On 24th March CMEV received a complaint from Dedigama UNP party office alleging that 05 non- government employees were included in the list of postal voters. According the list M.P.Jayaweera of 4th Regiment, Palali, has been named as the certifying officer.
On 25th CMEV contacted a voter who was named in the above list. He stated that he is not a government employee and that he was not aware of how his name came to be included on the postal voting list. He suspects that someone has intentionally done this in order to deny his voting rights, as he is a UNP supporter.
When contacted Mr.Jayaweera informed CMEV that he is a government teacher at Nivatuwa Maha Vidyalaya and that he had also applied for postal voting and marked his postal vote at Zonal Education Office, Warakapola today. He further explained that he came to know about the incident yesterday through the Grama Niladhari of his division and that his forged signature has been used in the application.
CMEV contacted P.A. Senaratne, Assistant Election Commissioner of Kegalle District. He informed CMEV that mistakenly their names were replaced with similar names of government employees. He said that they have been identified and that postal ballots were not sent to them. He further assured CMEV that he has taken measures to make arrangements for them to cast their votes on 08th April.
On 25th March at around 03.10 pm, CMEV contacted the Kegalle District Returning Officer, Mrs.D.M.P.Dissanayake on this account. She informed CMEV that she came to know about the incident yesterday evening and they have started an investigation into the matter. She also said that the perpetrators are yet to be identified.
CMEV will raise the issue with the Election Commissioner and urge him to ensure a detailed investigation into the incident.
Rambukana Pradeshiya Sabah
According to the CMEV Monitor, as of 11.30 am, a double cab(252-6894), a tipper( CP LC 9201) and a van(SB TA 4399) were parked within the premises of Rambukana PS. The vehicles were decorated with the propaganda material of UPFA candidate Kanaka Herath(candidate no 04). Fifty –two (52) postal votes were registered at the centre.
Leminiar Tami Vidyalayam,Nuwara-Eliya
On 25th March, CMEV received reports regarding an alleged attempt to deny voters’ rights in Nuwara-Eliya.
According to two teachers of Leminiar Tamil Vidyalaya, namely Saraswathi Pawani and Mrs.Rajakumran, they did not receive their postal ballots though they had applied for postal voting. They alleged that the Principal of the School did not submit their applications as they are supporters of National Union of Workers, an ally of UNP.
A.Nagarajah a UNP Member of the Kotagala Pradeshiya Sabha informed CMEV that the two teachers were the only postal voters who did not receive postal ballots. He alleges that the principal did this on purpose to deny UNF voters of the franchise.
CMEV contacted the Zonal Education Office, Nuwara-Eliya, B.Dharmasisiri Ranasinghe, an administrative officer of the department. He told CMEV that they were not sent postal ballots because their applications had not been received.
Mahiyangana Zonal Education Office: At around 03.35 pm CMEV Field Monitor reported that 245 applications for postal voting were rejected by the respective Zonal Education Director, Mr.Susil Wijeyatilaka due to late submission.
CMEV contacted Susil Wijetilaka who informed CMEV that he received applications from staff until 26th of February and due to the transportation problems he was unable to submit the applications on the due date. He further stated that he informed the Assistant Election Commissioner’s Office on 26th February that he was unable to handover the applications on the due date and an officer instructed him to send the applications by post. Mr.Susil Wijetialka has sent the applications by post, they were rejected and he has no record of who he spoke to.
CMEV contacted A.T.M.Talangama, Assistant Election Commissioner of the Badulla District. He stated that they acted according the rules and that the deadlines given by the Election Commissioner and the Director of Mahiyangana Zonal Education Office was responsible for his delay.
CMEV has learnt that most of the applicants have applied for election duty and might lose their right to vote.
Maharagama Urban Council
At around 01.00 pm, CMEV Field Monitor reported that UPFA candidate Sudharman Radaliyagoda(candidate no 05) and a group of supporters wearing T-Shirts and Caps displaying the candidate’s number were seen within the premises of the Council.
At around 01.20 pm, R.A.Somawathi, Certifying Officer of the centre, informed CMEV that they were present in the morning and that she had instructed them to leave the premises. She further stated that since she was inside the building, she was not aware of whether they have entered again . She assured CMEV that she would look into the matter.
Forest Department Head Office, Malabe
On 25th March, the CMEV Field Monitor reported that 19 postal vote applications were rejected due to their late submission.
CMEV Field Monitors reported that they found the tops of ballot paper envelopes stuck in several postal voting centres. CMEV recorded 02 instances from the Paddiruppu electorate and 01 incident from the Batticaloa electorate.
CMEV contacted the Assistant Election Commissioner of Batticaloa, T. Krishnanandalingam. He informed CMEV that this was a mistake and that they had deployed a mobile team to re-issue valid envelopes to postal voters.
Kinniya Urban Council
At around 11.10 am, CMEV Field Monitor reported that a black Pajero(WP C-655) displaying the beetle symbol and candidate no 07 was parked inside the premises of Kinniya PS. Seventeem (17) postal votes were registered at the centre.
Sooriyawewa Police Station
According to the CMEV Field Monitor all postal voting applications of the Sooriyawewa Police Station have been rejected by the certifying officer B.G.S.Sumanasinghe, OIC of the Sooriyawewa Police Station, on grounds of late submission. An officer attached to the Hambantota Assistant Election Commissioner’s office confirmed the incident.
Bopey-Poddala Pradeshiya Sabah
At around 12.40 pm, CMEV Field Monitor reported that supporters of UPFA candidates namely Rev.Baddegama Samitha(candidate no 09) and Piyasena Gamage(candidate no 03) and UNP candidate Wijyapala Hettiarachchi(candidate no 11) were campaigning for their respective candidates using the public addressing system near the Bopey-Poddala Pradeshiya Sabha. They came in separate vehicle convoys. CMEV Field Monitor has identified two vehicles as follows;
A cab (WPC 100299) belonging to Piyasena Gamage
A three-wheel (SP GE 2660) belonging to Wijayapala Hettiarachchi
31st January 2010 Colombo Sri Lanka: CMEV remains gravely concerned regarding the continued trend of post election violence, which is the highest seen when compared with the 1999 (76 incidents) and 2005 (39 incidents) Presidential Elections. The total number of incidents of post election violence recorded following the polls on the 26th of January 2010 stands at 85 incidents, of which 18 incidents have involved the use of firearms.
The 46 Major incidents recorded as of today, include 19 cases of Assault, 9 cases of Threat and Intimidation, 8 cases of Arson, and 5 cases of Grievous Hurt. The majority of complaints – 50 out of an overall total of 85 incidents, are against the UPFA, of which 29 are Major incidents. In terms of the geographical spread, of the 46 major incidents, the highest numbers have been recorded in the Kurunegala and Kandy Districts, with 10 and 5 incidents respectively.
CMEV remains concerned that as previously reported, complainants and victims continue to insist on anonymity on the grounds of personal security, adding that making complaints at the Police often leads to information regarding the complaint being relayed back to the assailants, resulting in further attacks. We also have reason to believe that there are many more incidents that are not reported even to us.
CMEV reiterates its call to the President, the political leadership of all parties, and the Police to deter their supporters from propagating post election violence, and to take necessary action in order to bring those responsible to book. The need of the hour is to ensure governance and respect for the rule of law, and reconciliation, which are only hindered by post election violence.
31 January 2010: Summary of post-election violence incidents received to CMEV by 4.30 pm.
30 January 2010: Summary of post-election violence incidents received to CMEV by 3p.m.
Read this as a PDF here.
27 January 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: On 26th January, Election Day, CMEV deployed 3,790 monitors in mobile teams and in polling stations throughout the island.
On Election Day, CMEV recorded a total of 178 incidents of which 94 have been categorised as Major. The highest number of Major incidents – 26 cases of Intimidators’ Presence in the vicinity of polling stations- was recorded in the Kandy District. Eight (08) of the 94 Major Incidents involved the use of firearms. The Kurunegala District, which recorded the highest number of Major incidents during the campaign (36), recorded 04 incidents of violence in this category on Election Day, illustrating a feature noted in other elections of a high incidence of campaign violence not being replicated on the day of the election.
In comparison with the violence recorded on Election Day in the 1999 and 2005 Presidential Elections, Election Day of the 2010 Presidential Election was considerably less violent. In 1999 there were 816 Major Incidents and in 2005, 242.
The Interim Report released by CMEV contains its observations on the election campaign. In it we noted our concern about the challenges to the electoral process highlighted in the election campaign which ranged from the flouting of the authority of the Election Commissioner to the abuse of state resources to problems with voter identity documentation and voting arrangements for IDPs as well as the high incidence of violence in this our first post war, peace time election in decades. Accordingly we reiterated our call for the implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, in particular the establishment of independent commissions for the Police, public service and Elections, it provides for. We made the point that the Seventeenth Amendment does not constitute a panacea and that it is not a sufficient measure to ensure the integrity of the electoral process, but rather a pivotally necessary one.
The concerns raised in our Interim Report remain. We wish to highlight three issues in addition to the incidence of violence recorded on Election Day. The first relates to the demonstrably unsatisfactory transport arrangements for IDP voting, which resulted in the effective disenfranchisement of a number of IDPs. In a Media Communiqué on Election Day, CMEV highlighted the case of 300 IDPs who on account of delays in transport were unable to vote after having waited hours for that transport. CMEV learns that they were left stranded thereafter and that there were other IDPs who were placed in a similar predicament.
The second issue relates to the series of explosions in Jaffna that occurred before polling commenced and immediately thereafter. CMEV believes that these acts of violence were perpetrated to reduce the voter turnout in the peninsula and calls on the agencies of law and order to bring the perpetrators of this violence to justice. Such violence in particular compounds the challenges of peace, reconciliation and national unity. Likewise, the effective disenfranchisement of the IDPs. The free and fullest participation of the people of the north in the democratic process of the country is to be welcomed, not impeded and undermined.
The final issue CMEV wishes to highlight is especially critical and relates to the concerns raised by party agents and members of the public about the integrity of the count. CMEV shares these concerns and has received complaints alleging that party agents were both assaulted and chased from counting centres in a number of districts. Complaints to date have been received from the Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Matale Electoral Districts. On 27 January, CMEV wrote to the Commissioner regarding this, urging him to publicly acknowledge and address these concerns before the official announcement of the final result.
CMEV will issue a full report on both the campaign and Election Day once all field reports from its monitors have been compiled.
On the available evidence and information in its possession, CMEV believes that the problems in the electoral process identified above need to be urgently addressed. This is essential to ensure that the doubts and concerns expressed over the results of this election do not persist and undermine the integrity of our electoral process as well as the legitimacy of our governance.
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and Mr. D.M. Dissanayake, respectively the co-convenor and national coordinator of CMEV give their first impressions of voter turnout and violence at the polls over the course of the day.
Read this report as a PDF here.
CMEV has received the following reports from the field:
Batticaloa District: Kalkudah Electroate: SLMC supporter Mr. Mohamad Ismail was attacked by a group of UPFA supporters at around 10:55 am about 20m away from the Oddamavadi Central College Polling Station (Polling Centre 69). CMEV spoke to Mr Ismail, who informed CMEV that he had been hit by members of the group, resulting in injuries to his face, left leg and right hand. He was admitted to the Mancholai hospital and is currently receiving treatment. No Police report had been lodged as at 10:55 am.
Ampara District: Digamadulla Electorate: At the Ampara/Lihiniyagama Maha Vidyalaya Polling Centre (21) there had been a long queue of 300 people around 8:15 am and the delay had caused about 30 people to leave the premises without casting their vote. According to the SPO of the polling station the delay is on account of the checking of temporary IDs and the lack of staff at the polling centre.
Ampara District: Digamadulla Electorate: CMEV monitors were prevented from accessing Ampara/ Damana Maha Vidyalaya Polling Centre (151) by the Police at around 10:40 am for 15 minutes after which the monitor was given access. The reason given by the Police was that the Eastern Province Minister for Education and Transport, Wimalaweera Dissanayake was at the polling station.
Ampara District: Digamadulla Electorate: CMEV reports that at around 9.30 am the Buddhist monk of Pokunuvita Temple Ven Pokunugala Sri Manarathana stood for about 30 minutes within a distance of 50 meters from the Ampara/ Damana Maha Vidyalaya Polling Centre (Polling Centre No. 151), and attempted to influence voters in favour of President Mahinda Rajapakse . When the Police had asked the monk to leave, he had continued trying to influence people from within a distance of 200 meters for a further 1 ½ hours.
Ampara District: Digamadulla Electorate: Three officials of the Lathpandura Vidyalaya Polling Station (Polling Centre No. 19) have not reported for duty as of 10.20 am. As a result there is a long queue of about 350 people. In addition to his duties, the SPO has to assist the others in their duties.
Ampara District: Digamadulla Electorate: Chairman W.S.W.N Ariyaratne Wijewickrema and the Vice Chairman Udena Chinthaka Navaratne of the Maha Oya Pradeshiya Sabha arrived in a cab (Vehicle number – EP LE 7504) and a van (Vehicle number – EP GR 8672) with another 10 people to Mr. A. M Gunadasa’s shop and have threatened to kill him saying that he is influencing people to vote for the Swan Symbol (Sarath Fonseka). Though Mr. Gunadasa has insisted that he does not support any party, the group have threatened and warned him that he should expect “something” to happen in the night. CMEV also reports that voters have been transported in these same 2 vehicles to the Ampara Kudaharasgala Vidyalaya Polling Station (Polling Station No. 58).
Trincomalee District – Trincomalee Electorate – at 11.40am the Trincomalee ARO Mr. Vijaya Samarasinghe stated that if the Polling Agents are agreead, people with Postal IDs, Navy Passes, Army IDs and Police Reports could vote. A person with a Postal ID had allegedly attempted to cast a vote and was prevented by the SPO Krishanadas, at which point UPFA Provincial Councilor Ariyawathi Galappaththi had protested. The ARO had subsequently arrived on the scene and pronounced the above. CMEV has received confirmation of this from the SPO.
Vanni District – Vavuniya Electorate – as reported by the CMEV mobile team, yet another hand grenade attack was reported from Amman Road – School Road Junction, Paddirukulam at 12.02pm.
Vanni District – Vavuniya Electorate – 11.50 a.m in Kurumankadu a house at No 25, 4th lane, Dharmadevar, Kurumankadu, Vavuniya was subjected to a grenade attack.
Vavuniya District, Vavuniya electorate- CMEV monitor reported that at 11.43am a van (no57-9138) with around 8 persons including Nasim, Rishny, Larry and Risvan who were identified by persons around the area and supporters of Minister Rishard Badurdeen, came to Muslim MV Pattanichpulliyankulam (centre no 40 ) and hurled a hand grenade at SLMC member Mr. A.L.M Safir within the radius of 500m of the polling station. There were no injuries reported.
Nuwara Eliya District – Nuwara Eliya Maskeliya Electorate – at 12.00pm at Vatagoda Tamil Vidyalaya polling station centre no 15, CWC supporters canvassed voters in favour of the UPFA candidate. The Police arrived on the scene and dispersed the group.
Nuwara Eliya District – Nuwara Eliya Maskeliya Electorate – at 1.00pm both UPFA and NDF supporters gathered at the Parpadam Wathu Pasela centre no 26, influencing voters.
Kandy District – Gampola Electorate – at 3.00pm, approximately 70 UPFA supporters were behaving in a manner that disturbed voters at the Atabage Udagama Maha Vidyalaya centre no 32.
Kandy District – Theldeniya Electorate – At 15.20pm at the Abeysinghe Kanishta Vidyalaya centre no 30 in Watapatha, the ARO and SPO prevented CMEV mobile monitors from entering the above polling centre.
Kandy District – Theldeniya Electorate – At 2.15pm at Waradhiwela Maha Vidyalaya centre no 9 the SPO of the polling station prevented the CMEV mobile monitor from entering the polling station.
Kandy District – Gampola Electorate – at 4.00pm at Atabhage Udagama Mahavidyalaya centre no 32 at Maddagam Madda, it is alleged that UPFA Minister D.M Jayaratne’s son assaulted the policeman guarding this polling station.
Hambantota District – Beliatte Electorate – according to JVP Member of Parliament Nihal Galappatti, at 11.00am UPFA supporters influenced voters at the Pagngnananda Prathamika Vidyalaya centre no. 41. The Police Officer appointed to the centre had taken action to remove the UPFA supporters. The IOC of Beliatte Police Krishantha had subsequently arrived on the scene and removed the Police Officer from the polling centre.
Hambantota District – Thissamaharama Electorate – the CMEV monitor has not been allowed into the Yatalathissa Prathamika Vidyalaya centre no 71. He was also denied any information.
Galle District – Galle Electorate- around 10.10 am Deputy Minister Lionel Premasiri, Deputy Mayor of Galle Fawzie Niyas ( UPFA) visited a house close to Katagoda Technical Collage and threatened and intimidated the occupants as alleged by Phillip Nishantha, who also placed an entry with the Galle Harbour Police.
Hambantota District – Beliatta, Kahawaata Polling Station(NO.40), Ajith Mathumanna, JVP member of Pradeshiya Sabha, reported that two vehicles belonging to Blue Force(“NIL BALAKAYA”)of UPFA, were parked near the Polling Station at about 10.00 a.m.
Hambantota District – Beliatte Electorate – Gatamanna North Junior School Polling Station (No 35),CMEV mobile monitor Sampath reported that many unauthorized persons were seen in the polling station between 08.30am and 09.15 am.
Hambantota District – Beliatte Electorate -H/Nayaka Rajapakse Vidyalaya (No 34), CMEV monitor reported that many unauthorized persons were seen within the polling station between 8.30am and 9.15 a.m.
Hambantota District – Beliatte Electorate – Gatamanna Wijaya Central Collage Polling Station (No 33), CMEV monitor in Beliatta reported that that many unauthorized persons were seen within the polling station between 08.30 am and 9.15 a.m.
Hambantota District – Tangalle Electorate – Kadurupokuna Maha Vidyalaya Polling Station No 23, CMEV monitor reported that the voting booths were positioned in such a way as to make ballot papers visible to the SPO when the voters cast their votes. The incident was reported about 8.30 a.m.
Hambantota District – Tangalla Electorate,Gajanayakagama Junior School(No 50)Polling Station, former MP Kularatne reported that D.R. Pradeep Kumarage who was supposed to continue as a representative in the Polling Station was assaulted and handed over to the Weerakatiya Police Station by M.K.Mahesh, the son of M.K. Ranjith, Member of the Southern Provincial Council and Private Secretary to Minister, Mahinda Samaraweera, complaining that he had illegally collected NICs at about 12.20 pm. The suspect remains under arrest at the Police station.
Matara District – Matara Electorate – Pamburana Saliputhra Vidyalaya Polling Station, JVP organizer for Mathara District reported that UPFA supporters of minister Chandrasiri Gajahdheera came in a procession to the Pamburana Sailputhra Polling Station about 8.50 a.m. .
North Western Province
Kurunegala District – Hiriyala Electorate – between 12.00pm and 1.00pm, CMEV monitors W.A.S.L. Gunawardena and R.S.G. Wijendra were threatened and their documents torn up by approximately 20 UPFA supporters who attempted to assault the monitors, near the Almina Muslim Maha Vidyalaya centre no 36. Police Officers who arrived on the scene had resolved the situation.
Puttalam District – Chilaw Electorate – at 2.40 pm when the Returning Officer was entering the polling station at Pambala Kanishta Vidyalaya centre no 66, some UPFA supporters had also entered the polling station asserting that if the Returning Officer could enter the station, they also had the ability to do so.
Puttalam District – Chilaw Electorate – at 11.20 am: voters at the Bangadeniya Kanishta Vidyalaya Polling Station centre no 23 were assaulted by UPFA Arachchikattuwa Pradesheeya Sabha President Jagath Samantha and others. They also told the Polling Agent to leave the Polling station. Jagath Samantha rejects the allegation.
North Central Province
Polonnaruwa District – Polonnaruwa Electorate – while UNP supporter Lakshman Senevirathne was on his way to the polling centre at 6.00am, A.K.G. Nishantha Harischandra, Ranjan Nanayakkara (Mahaweli Adhikariya) and Prashan had blocked the road and threatened him. A complaint has been lodged at the Aralaganwila Police – CIB I 205/238.
Polonnaruwa District – Polonnaruwa Electorate – UPFA provincial councilor Peshala Jayaratna had been transporting voters in vehicles belonging to Thamankaduwa Pradeshiya Sabha at around 1.30pm.
Badulla District – Mahiyanganaya Electorate – at 1.30 p.m – a group of supporters of the Agriculture Minister of the Uva Palath Sabahva, Anura Vidanagamage, went to the home of Mr Attanayake Mudiansalage Gunaratne in Beligalla, Dambana and assaulted him and his wife. No serious injuries were sustained in the assault. The Mahiyangana Police has received the complaint and were recording statements.
Monaragala District – Monaragala Electorate – at 1.25 p.m. Uva Provincial Council Minister Kumara Siri Ratnayake and his supporters parked his vehicle ( Vehicle No. 59-2041) bearing President Rajapakse’s poster, in front of the Kirawanagoda Kanishta Vidyala centre no 87 and were seen talking to voters.
Digamadulla District, Pottuvil Electorate: CMEV observed two persons on a motor bike (MT 0340) distributing ballot papers outside AI/ Kathariya Vidyalaya (Polling Centre 86) to four women asking them to vote for President Mahinda Rajapaka. One of the women, A.M. Mizaya who had already cast her vote had taken one of the ballot papers and voted again. A CMEV monitor overheard the JPO asking her ”why did you come now, you should have come later.”
CMEV strongly urges the Election Commissioner to consider annulling the poll in this particular polling station.