Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category
23 July 2011, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) notes the conclusion of the second phase of the 2011 local government elections held today. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) of which CPA is a constituent member, did not deploy monitors in the field in the present phase of the local government elections. Therefore, the information received is from reports filed from actors present in the areas where elections were conducted, as well as from the media.
The lead up to the elections was marred by violence and election day itself witnessed several incidents, including one killing. The elections for the 65 local government bodies held today were delayed due to legal challenges. CPA also notes that the Government using Emergency Regulations has postponed elections for a number of local authorities. We urge all political actors to take steps to ensure local government elections are held without further delay.
The present elections were held according to the 2010 Electoral Register unlike the polls held in March 2011 that used the 2009 register. A significant factor in this is the reduction of the number of registered voters in the Jaffna District. Another key point is the holding of local government elections in parts of the North such as in Killinochchi after more than two decades.
Available information indicates that these elections recorded a relatively high turn out at the close of polls. This in turn reflects renewed voter interest, especially when compared to the parliamentary elections of April 2010 that saw a turnout of 61.26%, one of Sri Lanka’s lowest turn outs at a general election. There were concerns about voter distrust in the electoral process, in particular over transportation problem and allegations of irregularities in the counting process. The turn out in the Northern Province in particular has been very high. For instance, the Killinochchi polling division recorded a turn out of just 7.23% at the Presidential elections held in 2010 and 12.13% at the parliamentary elections held the same year. In contrast, as reported in the media by returning officers, voter turnout at the close of polls in Killinochchi was 65%, Jaffna 46% and Mullativu 65%. Whilst these elections represent a significant step in the post-war consolidation of democracy, a number of incidents highlight concerns about enduring violence and malpractice compromising the integrity of the electoral process.
CPA was informed of several incidents where voters in areas of Karachchi and Palai divisions, in the Killinochchi District were forced to hand over their polling cards by armed actors hours before polling commenced at 7am. CPA also received reports that in some areas payments were made to some voters to hand over their polling cards. Some of these incidents were reported from Bharatipuram, Ramanathapuram, Konavil, Malayalapuram, Vattakachchi, Kalmadu, Ananvillandan and Navalnagar in the Killinochchi District.
While it is too early to comment on the outcome of the elections, an important point to note is the tactics used by candidates, political parties and others to influence and deter a free and fair election taking place in the North. Violence and violations of electoral law were also reported from other areas of the country. The killing of a UPFA supporter, Anura Wijeybandara in Anuradhapura District, reportedly in an intra-party clash on election day draws attention to continued political violence in the country.
A recurrent issue in elections held in Sri Lanka is the problem of documentation. Voters in the present election in parts of the North experienced this again. CPA was informed that an announcement was made by the Commissioner of Elections only at noon today stating that temporary identity cards issued by the Police would be accepted for polling in parts of Killinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts. While this delayed announcement may have helped some voters, CPA notes with concern the inability of the relevant officials to take steps prior to the opening of the polls to disseminate this information.
CPA urges the Commissioner of Elections and other relevant officials to take necessary measures to ensure these issues are addressed without delay in light of the statement made by the President of forthcoming Northern Provincial Elections to be held in 2012.
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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.
Re-Poll in Nawalapitya & Trincomalee
20 April 2010, Sri Lanka, 1pm: Re-polling in 34 polling centers in Nawalapitiya Polling Division, Kandy District and in Kumburupitiya Polling Station (Number 78), Trincomalee Polling Division, Trincomalee District commenced at 7 am today. The Election Commissioner decided to re-poll following allegations of serious election malpractices including obstruction of voters and chasing away of polling officers on General Election Day on April 8th 2010. CMEV is monitoring the re-polling with 4 mobile teams and 34 stationary monitors in Nawalapitiya and 1 mobile team and 1 stationary monitor in Kumburupitiya.
As of 13:00 hours CMEV reports four incidents of election violations:
Transport of Voters in Trincomalee: CMEV mobile monitors reported that at around 9.20am, supporters of UPFA candidate Susantha Punchinilame (No 07) were transporting voters from the Salappai area and Gandhinagar in two vehicles bearing registration numbers 31Sri 1756 (a jeep) and WP 5029 (a bus), located near the Kumburupitiya Polling Station (No 78) around 9.10am in the Trincomlaee Electorate.
Transport of Voters in Nawalapitiya: As reported by CMEV around 11.00am, a white van bearing the Registration No. 42-0239 had engaged in transporting voters to Galaha junior school Polling Station No. 30 in Nawalapitiya Electorate. This has happened several times but the police have only warned the perpetrators.
Illegal Casting of Ballot in Nawalapitiya: CMEV monitors reported at around 8.35am, the SPO in the Polling Station No 39 Kadiyallena Junior School in the Nawalapitiya Electorate, was helping disabled voters to cast their vote. However, he marked the ballot paper himself and puts it into the ballot box without showing it to the voter. Nor was this voting being witnessed by another official as required by law. A similar practice was reported to have taken place in polling station No. 07, Alugolla junior school (No. 2) in Dolosbage, in Nawalapitiya Electorate. This was observed at around 11.45am by CMEV monitor.
Impersonating Monitor: As reported by CMEV around 12.05pm, a person in the vicinity of the Dolosbage Junior School Polling Station (No.01) in Dolosbage in the Nawalapitiya Electorate, was wearing the hand band of CMEV and thereby posing as a CMEV Election Observer. The police removed the person from the vicinity of the polling station and returned the hand band to the CMEV Election Observer.
08th April Colombo Sri Lanka, 7pm: At the close of polls at 4pm, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) recorded 84 Major and 202 Minor incidents of election related violence. The majority of incidents recorded during polling hours related to campaigning and other election offences (189). Of the Major incidents there were 6 Assaults and 7 cases of Threat and Intimidation of which 4 involved the use of firearms. The majority of Major incidents related to the intimidatory presence in and around polling stations.
CMEV estimates voter turn out to be between 50-55%. This could be the lowest turn out figures in recent history, as most Presidential and General Elections have seen averages of 65-75%. The lowest turn out for a General or Presidential Election in the last twenty years was the Presidential Election of 1988, which was 55.31%, while the General Election of 1989 registered a 63.6% turn out.
CMEV had warned that the loss of public trust and confidence in the electoral process following the Presidential Election could be reflected in a low voter turnout in the General Election. CMEV reiterates its concern that this low turnout could signal a shift in the political culture of the Sri Lankan electorate, which has enjoyed the franchise for almost seven decades and registered high voter turn out in most elections. The measure of our concern is the contrast in the conditions that obtained in the country in 1988 and the conditions, which obtain today, and the turn out in the two elections. In 1988 there was a JVP insurgency in the south of the country and the LTTE insurgency in the north and east. That Sri Lanka’s first post –war General Election should elicit such a low level of interest and participation from the electorate is a cause for concern at this crucial juncture in our history.
CMEV urges all political actors to engage in serious reflection on this and take urgent action to restore public trust and confidence in the electoral process that this may well be attributable to. Were the argument to be made that the low turn out is attributable to voters concluding that the result was a foregone conclusion, CMEV draws attention to this election as the one, which recorded the highest number of candidates in any General Election in the country. Clearly they were unable to inspire or enthuse voters.
In this context, CMEV wishes to register its concern about the Ada Derana text message to the effect that the Commissioner will only announce the turn out figure along with the final results. This fuels unnecessary speculation and could further erode public trust and confidence in the electoral process.
CMEV is particularly concerned by the incidents in Nawalapitiya prior to the commencement of polling and in the early hours of polling where polling agents were threatened and intimidated. CMEV has urged the Commissioner to annul the poll in the centres affected.
CMEV is also concerned with reports of possible malpractices with post election arrangements including counting. CMEV has been informed of a ballot box allegedly being switched in Nikawaratiya by supporters of UPFA candidate Johnston Fernando in the presence of the Special Task Force and police. CMEV urges the Commissioner of Election to take all steps to ensure the safety of the ballot boxes and to investigate all allegations of malpractice. CMEV urges all political parties, candidates and their supporters to respect the electoral process including the counting that is to commence shortly. Election monitors including CMEV have been permitted to be present at the announcement of results at the District Secretariat but not at the count.
8 April 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 3pm: The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) reported that as of 2pm on polling day, there was a turn -out of 35-40% across Sri Lanka with a low turn- out in Jaffna of around 10%. There were several reports of threat and intimidation against voters and polling agents. At present 75 Major incidents have been reported to CMEV and 196 Minor incidents.
As reported in the Election Day communiqué 1, CMEV has continuously received reports of discrepancies in the marking of fingers with indelible ink. This is an issue of concern as it can lead to possible malpractices and impact the integrity of the poll.
CMEV has also received several cases where posters and cutouts of candidates from various parties have been seen near polling stations- a violation of Election laws and guidelines which is disregarded by many candidates and political parties across districts.
Prevention of Voting
Trincomalee district, Trincomalee electorate, Kuchchaveli, Vivekananda Maha Vidyalayam, hall nos 1 and 2, polling stations (no. 80 and 81). 12:00pm
A complaint was made by U. Ravikumara, ACTC candidate (no. 4), to CMEV that Susantha Punchinilame, UPFA candidate (no. 7) together with other UPFA supporters were moving around with arms in a vehicle bearing the license plate (62-6091) around these two polling stations, at noon. They threatened and intimidated Tamil voters and demanded that they did not vote.
CMEV reports that a busload of Tamil voters from Trincomalee Town whose polling station is in Kutchaveli, were stopped in Irakandy by the Police. The Police claimed that the bus did not have a route permit and could not be permitted to transport voters. The voters got down and had to find alternate modes of transport. CMEV spoke to the TNA who confirmed the incident and further alleged that polling cards were snatched from the voters. .
INTIMIDATION AND THREATS TO VOTERS
Galle District, Hiniduma Electorate at 2.30am:
CMEV Field Monitor reported three incidents relating to the alleged intimidation of supporters of UPFA candidate Nishantha Muthuhettigama (no. 6). An unidentified group of individuals had come to the residence of Amarasiri Abeysinghe a supporter living in Weerapana at 2.30 am and threatened to kill him if he voted. They also inflicted minor damages to the house. An unidentified group of individuals had fired into the residence of PK Dharasana, a supporter of Muthuhettigama, in Damwala at 2.40 am and threatened to kill him if he voted. CMEV monitor reported that the house of Chaminda Karunaratne in Talatgalla, another supporter of Muthuhettigama had been attacked and some damage was done to the windows of the house. Two shots were reportedly fired into the house at around 3.10 am.
Kandy District, Nawalapitiya Electorate, Angolla Kanishta Vidyalaya Polling Station, Polling Station no. 02.
CMEV Mobile Monitor reported that supporters of UPFA candidate Mahindananda Aluthgamage (no. 4) had assaulted several Tamil voters, forcibly taken their polling and Identity cards near the polling centre and chased them out of the centre at around 10.30 am.
Vanni District, Mannar Electorate, Arippu Roman Catholic Tamil Maha Vidyalayam, polling station no 47, 09.40 am:
CMEV field monitor reported that supporters of Rishard Badurdeen, UPFA candidate (no. 1), were seen in white vans bearing registration numbers JE 1020 and SR 1029 openly canvassing for Rishard Badurdeen . They asked people to vote for him and distributed leaflets bearing his name, symbol and number.
Hambantota District , Tissamaharam Electorate 9.00 am
CMEV Field Monitor reported that a double cab No JS-8969 with supporters of UPFA candidate Chamal Rajapakse (no 7) was seen in the area engaged in campaigning.
Digamadulla District, Samanthurai Polling Division
CMEV Field Monitor reports that announcement are being made via the mosque loudspeakers urging potential voters ‘to go and vote, as the names of those who have not voted can be identified.’ The announcements were made between 1.30 pm and 2.00 pm.
THREAT TO POLLING AGENT
Digamadulla District, Pottuvil Electorate, Akkaraipattu Cultural Centre, polling station no 84. 12:00pm:
CMEV Monitor reported that M.S. Rivas, a Polling Agent of the UNP, was threatened and forcefully thrown out from the above center by supporters of UPFA candidate A.L.M Attaullah (no. 02). M.S. Rivas subsequently filed a complaint at the police station, bearing CIB 326/1020/2010/48.
CAMPAIGNING ON ELECTION DAY
Ratnapura District, Pelmadulla Electorate, MorathotaVidyalaya, Polling Station No 29: 9:00am
CMEV Mobile Team reported that leaflets containing the numbers of UPFA candidate Deepal Gunasekera (no. 4) and UNP candidate Dunesh Gankanda (no. 11) were being distributed near the polling station.
Anuradhapura District, Horowpathana Electorate, Muttarawewa Vidyalaya Polling Station(No.06), 9:15 am
CMEV Mobile correspondent reported that a group of 50 supporters of UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha member M. Hussain held a meeting near the polling station and canvassed voters going to the polling station to vote for the UPFA.
Anuradhapura District, Horowpathana Electorate, Ruwanwali Maha Vidyalaya Polling Station (No. 09), 9:30am
CMEV Mobile Monitor in Horowpathana reported that cards displaying the candidate number of UPFA candidate Duminda Dissanayake (no. 6) were being distributed near the Polling Station by his supporters.
Anuradhapura District, Horowpathana Electorate, Sinhala Walahawiddawewa Vidyalaya/Rathmalgahawewa Polling Station (No. 01), 9:45 am
CMEV Mobile Monitor, Horowpathana reported that some leaflets of UPFA candidate Duminda Dissanayake (no.06) were being distributed near the Polling Station by his supporters.
Vanni District, Mannar electorate, Roman Catholic Tamil Mahavidyalayam, polling station no 51, hall no 03, at 10.25 am:
At the entrance of the polling station supporters of RizardBadurdeen (no. 1) were seen distributing leaflets bearing his symbol and image.
Hambantota District, Lunugamwehera Electorate , OyagawaRanawarnawa Junior School, Polling Station No 115, 8.40am
CMEV Monitor reported that an enlarged laminated photograph of UPFA Candidate Mahinda Amaraweera (no. 1) was visible close to the Polling Station
Matara District ,Deniyaya Electorate , Pattigala Junior School, Polling Station No 57, 8.30am
CMEV Field Monitor reported that there were small cutouts within 500 meters of the Polling Station, of UPFA Candidate Chandrasiri Gajadeera (no. 8), UPFA Candidate Sanath Jayasuriya (no. 10) and UPFA Candidate Lakshman Yapa Abewardena (no. 1)
Hambantota District , Tissamaharam Electorate , Angunukolawada Junior School , Polling Station No 111, 9.05am
CMEV Field Monitor reported that supporters of UPFA candidate Mahinda Amaraweera (no.1) were seen pasting posters in the area.
Digamadulla District, Ampara Electorate, Ampara Gamini MahaVidyalaya, polling station 127, 10.45 am
CMEV monitor reported that UPFA supporters were seen transporting voters in vehicle bearing registration number 59-6860 to the above polling station.
Jaffna district, Kankesanthurai Electorate, Seenipanthal junction: polling stations Elavalai Holy Family Convent Maha Vidyalayam 06 and MareesanKoodal Roman Catholic Tamil School no 07 and Elavalai St Henry’s College no 08, at 10.55 am:
CMEV Monitor reported that supporters of Douglas Devananda, UPFA candidate (no. 08), were seen transporting voters in a blue van bearing registration number NP – HS 7294 to the above polling stations.
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: 413
Major incidents: 231
Minor incidents: 182
Firearms involved: 55
Intra party disputes
UPFA against UPFA – 78
UNP against UNP – 2
Details here in Sinhala, Tamil and English.
6th April 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: CMEV has received reports from the Puttalam and Batticaloa Districts alleging preparations for voter impersonation in the polls on the 08th. CMEV urges the Commissioner to investigate these allegations and ensure that all action is taken to prevent voter impersonation.
Illegal applications under displaced category in Puttalam District
On 30th March, CMEV received a copy of the letter, addressed to the Election Commissioner, from UNP candidate for Vanni District Noordeen Mashoor regarding illegal voter applications under the displaced category in the Puttalm District.
In the letter, he alleged that this was done on the instigation of the incumbent Minister and UPFA candidate Rishard Badiudeen. The letter mentions that most of such voters currently reside in Colombo and Panadura. The rest are either living abroad or have died.
On contacting Noordeen Mashoor’s Office, CMEV was informed that in centres highlighted in the letter, there was a remarkable increase in the number of voters compared to the last presidential election. Manalkunru(PD No.29D), Cassim city(PD No.42D/3), Veppamadu(PD No.23 D/1), Alankuda(PD No.54/D1 & 54D/2), Ulukkappallam(PD No.77D/1& 77/2), Hidayath Nagar(PD No.86D) and Thillayady(PD No.40D) in the Puttalam District and Salampapuram (PD No.43D) in the Anurdhapura District were highlighted in the letter.
An officer attached to Mashoor’s office told CMEV that a list highlighting every individual’s current status has been prepared in order to identify the illegal applications. According to him, there are around 6,000 such voters. He also informed CMEV that the copies have been given to the Election Commissioner and respective Returning Officer and Assistant Election Commissioner. He said that they were awaiting action in this regard.
On contacting the Assistant Election Commissioner and the Returning Officer of Puttalam, CMEV learnt that they have started investigations into the matter. On 02nd April CMEV was told by the Assistant Election Commissioner-Puttalam Mr.A.O.M.Nafeel that in a random check they did based on the list they received from the complainant, they identified around 27 applications with forged signatures of Grama Niladharis. He further explained that since they do not have an updated list of people residing in the camps, it is difficult to compare the lists. He also said that they did not have enough time and resources to conduct a check on an individual basis. He stated that after the consultation with the Commissioner, they would take a decision regarding the mater.
On 03rd April CMEV learnt that the Commissioner issued a notice on the issue on 02nd April. CMEV got a copy of the notice on 04th April.
It is mentioned in the notice that 25,582 displaced voters (21,035 for Vanni and 4,547 for Jaffna) have applied under the displaced category and they will be allowed to cast their votes in centres to be set up in the Puttalam District.
It is further noted in the notice that the lists of displaced voters under this category were displayed in the Puttalam and Mannar Election Offices and in the respective Divisional Secretariats a week ago. They subsequently received complaints from some voters in Mannar that they did not apply under this category. Accordingly, they will be allowed to vote in their regular polling centres in Mannar, the notice states.
It is also stated in the notice that they have identified some applications with forged details and signatures and that in many cases Grama Niladaris had not attested the applications.
CMEV has learnt that applications of those living abroad and deceased were submitted with forged signatures. This is also mentioned in the notice.
It is explained in the notice that the Puttalam Assistant Election Commissioner’s Department attempted to get a list of people over 18 yrs through the respective Returning Officer. However, the lists have yet to be submitted by the respective camp officers. Therefore, it is difficult to conduct a fair poll in 37 centres set up in the Puttalam District.
The notice instructs displaced voters to get their respective camp officer and Grama Niladari to attest the form issued by the Department of Election. However there are concerns in respect of the former since camp officers are appointed by Rishard Badiudeen’s ministry and with the time period available for this.
On 05th April CMEV contacted the respective Returning Officer in this regard, he informed CMEV that the Commissioner has issued another notice today considering all the issues. According to him a declaration will be obtained from voters at the discretion of the SPOs or if a polling agent objects, according to the section 43 of the Parliamentary Elections Act. Measures will be taken to inform the people through Grama Niladharis.
CMEV notes that this is not the first time illegal applications have been submitted from the Puttalam District. During the Jaffna MC and Vavuniya UC Elections, 488 such applications were found and removed by the Election Commissioner. Moreover, the annulment of results in a polling centre due to malpractices has also happened in the Puttalm District in the recent past.
CMEV notes with concern the lack of preparedness for the conduct of the polls and underscores the lack of an updated list of people residing in the camps, though displacement occurred 20 years ago. .
CMEV calls upon the respective Returning Officer and Assistant Election Commissioner to act fast to effectively communicate the message to the concerned people and to remove the confusion arising from constant changes of the procedures within a very short period.
Allegations of preparation for systematic voter impersonation
On 04th April CMEV received a copy of a letter, addressed to the Election Commissioner on 30th March 2010, from UNP candidate for the Batticaloa District U.L.M.N.Mubeen
He alleged, in the letter, that a UPFA candidate plans large- scale voter impersonation using forged NICs.
The letter states that the candidate in question has visited the town to collect the details of traders who are voters in the Batticaloa Distric but currently residing outside the Distrixt for business purposes. It is also alleged that the candidate has collected a copies of the latter’s NICs for purposes of impersonation.
The letter alleges that Mr.Abdul Raheem known as Rupavahini Raheem has been assigned the task of forging NICs and that the candidate has engaged in impersonation in previous elections, including the last Eastern Provincial Council Election.
The letter requests the Commissioner to inform the Police of this and recommends that election officials from Kattankudy not be appointed to this area. Likewise election monitors.
CMEV reiterates its call to the Commissioner to act to ensure that voter impersonation as alleged does not take place.
Total number of Incidents: 398
Major incidents: 223
Minor incidents: 175
Firearms involved: 53
Intra party disputes
UPFA against UPFA – 75
UNP against UNP – 2
Details here in Sinhala, Tamil and English.
5 April 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: CMEV has received confirmation of the first election related murder and reports of the further intensification of violence as the campaign draws to a close today, midnight. A tense situation is reported from the Sinhala areas of the Digamadulla District due to the competition between candidates for preference votes.
Tense situation reported in Ampra
CMEV field reports revealed that a tense situation prevails in Ampara and Mahaoya areas due to a UPFA intra party clash between supporters of UPFA candidates Sarath Weerasekara(candidate no 10) and Ferial Ashrof(candidate no 01) on 04th April at around 11.00 am in Ampara town. Saman Morayas, Vice Chairman of the Ampara Urban Council and Wimal Weera Dissanayake, Eastern Province Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs, Lands and Land Development and Transport were also attacked in the incident.
CMEV learnt that protests against Sarath Weerasekara were organized in Mahaoya town and Damana 04th Mile Post at around 12.00 pm today. A protest was also held in Ampara town, yesterday, against him. Reportedly the protests are backed by Wimal Weera Dissanayake.
According to the information from the field, posters which state ‘vote for a Sinhalee beyond party or colour’ in Sinhala have been displayed in Sinhala areas.
In previous reports, CMEV also highlighted a Harthal in the Pottuvil area on 03rd April against UPFA candidate A.L.M.Athaullah.
UPFA supporter shot dead in Kurunegala
CMEV learnt that R.D.Jeewan Prasanna Jayawardhana, a UPFA supporter, was shot dead by an unknown group in Mawathagama at around 11.00 pm yesterday.
CMEV learnt that the deceased was a supporter of UPFA candidate R.D.Wimaladasa(candidate no 06).
When CMEV contacted Wimaladasa’s office, Chandalal Wijesooriya, a driver who witnessed the murder, informed CMEV that while they were returning from Kurunegala to Mawathagama in a double cab (NW PB 3968), an unknown group in a double cab confronted them and opened fire towards their vehicle. According to him, Jeewan was sitting in the back seat of the cab. He further explained that when they reached the Kurunegala Hospital Jeewan had died and that they had informed the Police at the time of the incident.
Wimaldasa suspects that the attack was carried out by UNPers, since he was informed that some UNP supporters had been searching for Kasun, another supporter of his, prior to this attack.
When CMEV contacted the Mawathagama Police Station, a women Police Officer informed CMEV that they had received an anonymous call regarding the incident at around 11.45 pm. She further stated that investigations are being carried out.
Dr.N.D.S.Rajamanthiri of Kurunegala General Hospital confirmed that the person had died when he was brought to the hospital.
DNA supporters assaulted in Wattala
A group of DNA supporters who were pasting posters, were assaulted by a group of supports of UPFA candidate for Gampaha District, Neil Rupasinghe(candidate no 12) in Pattiyawala, Uswetakeiyawa at around 03.00 am on 03rd April.
CMEV Field Monitor visited the residence of M.N.C.Dias, a victim, and recorded a statement from him. According to him, he and M.A.Ranjith Kumara, another DNA supporter, were assaulted and Ranjith managed to escape from the attack. Subsequently he was forcibly pulled into the vehicle and brought to Neil Rupasinghe’s residence located in Hendala,Wattala. He was ordered to kneel down and was assaulted by Neil Rupasinghe’s supporters at his residence as well. He further explained that he was dropped at the point where they snatched him.
He further stated that he saw the UPFA supporters waving to the police officers when they passed the Police check -point located in Wattala Shell Gas Junction. He expressed his disappointment with the Police over their inactivity and stated that he would not complain to the Police in this regard as he lacked trust in them.
When CMEV contacted the Wattala Police Station it was informed that the Muthurajawela Police Post is in charge of deployment at the above named check -point. When CMEV contacted the Muthurajawela Police Post, PC Sanjeewa Kumara informed CMEV that on the particular day they did not deploy any officers to the above post.
When CMEV contacted Neil Rupasinghe in this regard, he categorically denied the allegations.
Intra party clash in Anuradhapura
CMEV learnt that a group of supporters of UPFA candidate Duminda Dissanayake(candidate no 06) was assaulted by a group of supporters of UPFA candidate S.M.Chandrasena(candidate no 11) near Eppawala Epologama Rathgiriyagama Vidyalaya, Kekirawa at around 06 pm on 02nd April.
On 03rd April CMEV contacted Ajith Kumara, Coordinating Secretary to Duminda Dissanayake. He informed CMEV that 08 supporters were injured due to the attack and admitted to the Anurdhapura General Hospital. He alleged that the perpetrators ordered them to kneel down and threatened them with firearms.
When CMEV contacted R.M.R.Somaratne, Coordinating Secretary to S.M.Chandrasena, he denied the allegations and stated that supporters of Duminda Dissanyake assaulted them and that five of them sustained injuries in the attack and were subsequently admitted to the Anuradhapura General Hospital.
CMEV contacted the Kekirawa Police Station. A Police Sergeant told CMEV that they received a 119 call regarding the incident and on the basis of that information further investigations are being carried out
On contacting the Anuradhapura Hospital, CMEV learnt that 10 people who were injured in the attack were admitted to the hospital.
Total number of Incidents: 341
Major incidents: 196
Minor incidents: 145
Firearms involved: 45
Intra party disputes
UPFA against UPFA – 68
UNP against UNP – 1
Details here in Sinhala, Tamil and English.