Centre for Policy Alternatives on 8 August, 2009

Election Day Report: Uva Provincial Council Elections,Jaffna MC & Vavuniya UC Elections-2009

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Download PDF of this report here.

8th August 7:00pm: Polling in the elections to
the Jaffna Municipality, Vavuniya Urban Council and Uva Provincial
Council was relatively incident free with voter turnout figures of 20%,
49% and 62% in the three areas respectively.

Of the areas polled, attention focused on the Jaffna Municipality,
on account of it being the first post war poll in a predominantly Tamil
area.  In this respect, the voter turnout of 20% should be seen in
terms of an effective 40%, given that the actual number of voters
present and able to vote in the municipality was not the figure on the
electoral register, but roughly half that number.  Some 41,000 polling
cards were retained at the Post Office.  These could not be delivered
to the prospective voters, as the latter were not present to accept
delivery of them at the addresses given on the polling cards. 
Provision was made for these voters to obtain their polling cards form
the Post Office until 3pm today, polling day.

The low turn out figure in Jaffna can be attributed to a number of
factors, primarily that of voter migration, voter preoccupation with
livelihoods and quality of life, the impact of the IDP situation and
voter disinterest in the elections as either being unnecessary and
irrelevant at this point in time, a foregone conclusion in terms of
result or held in accordance with political priorities other than their
own.

CMEV wishes to underscore this last point and its bearing on the low
turnout. In particular there are outstanding issues with regard to the
adequacy of information made available to the IDPs, with regard to
voter registration as well as the access of political parties to
potential voters in these camps. CMEV fully recognizes the number of
factors militating against political activity in the camps and agrees
that they reinforce the argument about the inappropriateness of
elections at this time.

In the Uva Provincial Council election, CMEV received a number of
allegations pertaining to the misuse of state resources by the ruling
alliance and in particular on behalf of its chief ministerial candidate
Shasiendra Rajapaksa.  The misuse of state resources in this way is a
recurrent bad practice in all elections and reinforces the argument of
CMEV, its constituent organizations and other civil society
organization about the pivotal importance of the implementation of the
Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution and the establishment of
independent commissions for the arms of the state that are responsible
for protecting and strengthening the integrity of the electoral process.

CMEV received reports of 2 major incidents and 1 minor incident in
Jaffna MC elections and reports of 3 major incidents and 2 minor
incidents in the Vavuniya UC elections during election day. There were
two incidents of assaults against candidates of the SLMC in Vavuniya
and two incidents of assault against SLMC supporters and one against
EROS supporters in Vavuniya and Puttalam (Jaffna MC). CMEV also
received reports of two incidents of campaigning during Election Day in
Vavuniya.

In the Uva Provincial Council elections, there were 14 incidents in
total from the Badulla district and 20 incidents from the Monaragala
district during Election Day. There were 7 major incidents in the
Badulla district and 4 major incidents in the Monaragala incident.
These incidents included two incidents of assault in Badulla district
and 1 incident of assault in Monaragala district. There were 3
incidents in which election officials did not allow CMEV monitors to
enter the polling station in the Badulla district. There were 2 similar
incidents reported from the Monaragala district. There was 1 incident
in the Badulla district where the polling agent was found distributing
campaign material for UPFA candidates. There was also 1 voter related
incident in the Monaragala district. Some of these incidents are
described below.

Assault of Candidates
At 12pm, SLMC candidates Mukkankoolu Ravichandran (Preferential No. 09)
and Abdul Latheef Mohamed Munawfar (Preferential No. 02) who were on
their way to the polling station on a motor bike, were assaulted by
supporters of UPFA Minister of Resettlement Rishad Bathiudeen at the
V/Muslim Maha Vidyalaya, Pattanichchipuliyankulam  (Polling station No.
1). According to Ravichandran, the assailants had travelled in a Toyota
Hi- Ace van bearing the registration number 251 – 5092. Ravichandran
also informed the CMEV monitors that the assailants had attempted to
run him over with the vehicle and had identified the assailants as
supporters of Minister Rishard Badurdeen (ACMC), known as Rizni,
Rafees, Rifthiyan, Majeed, Haroun, Safree and Nassen. Police Constable
T.Wimalajith at the police post at the Vavuniya Base Hospital Police
confirmed to CMEV that Mukkankoolu Ravichandran and Abdul Latheef
Mohammed were both admitted to the hospital with minor injuries.
Minister Rishad Bathiudeen when contacted by the CMEV said that he was
informed of such an incident, but he was not connected with the
incident in any way. He also said that it is a personal conflict
between two individuals.

Assault of Voters and Supporters
At 8am Mr. H. S. M. Naseer driver of ITAK candidate Mr. Mohammed Aleem 
Jamaldeen (Preferential No. 02) of the ITAK was assaulted by M. Mujahir
and others who are supporters of  Minister Rishard Badurdeens. CMEV was
informed that the driver was assaulted and the vehicle was damaged. Mr.
Jamaldeen Mohammed Aleem subsequently made a report on this incident to
the Puttalam Police (CIB 0290/57).

CMEV mobile team reported that at 11.30am Sivakumaran a supporter of
the EROS party was assaulted by a group of supporters at the Rural
Development Society Kurumankadu (Polling station No. 3) by the
Democratic People’s Liberation Front (PLOTE) party who arrived in a
van. Sivakumaran sustained minor injuries during the attack.  During
police investigations in connection to the incident Kanthar
Thamotharampillai Linganathan, (candidate No 2) the Chief candidate of
the PLOTE party rejected all allegations made against his party. The
police confirmed this incident to the CMEV mobile team.

A voter was assaulted at Polling Station No.50, Karametiya Junior
School Polling Station, Moneragala polling division, Moneragala
District at around 3.15pm. The assault was reportedly carried out by a
policeman on duty at the station. A CMEV field monitor stated that the
assault had taken place due to a dispute between the policeman and the
voter regarding the voter’s identification document.

A serious incident of assault was reported at Polling Station No.
48, B/Orubediwewa Central College, Mahiyangana Polling Division,
Badulla District. At around 11.00 am, about 20 supporters of UPFA
candidate Anura  Ravindra Widanagamage (Preferential No. 6) had gone in
a motorcade to D. M. Muthubanda’s (UNP Representative of Rideemaliyadda
Pradeshiya Sabha) residence, and assaulted Mr. Muthubanda and his wife.
Muthubanda was rushed to Mahiyangana Hospital and has received
attention for his injuries in Ward No. 8 under police protection.
Muthubanda has complained to the Mahiyangana Police Station. OIC
Illangakoone confirmed that the incident had been reported to them.
This incident was reported to CMEV by the Secretary to Luxman
Seneviratne, UNP M.P, Badulla District. When CMEV contacted Anura
Widanagamage regarding the incident, he denied his involvement.

Campaigning during polling hours
Leaflets of UPFA candidates S. H. Somapala (Preferential Candidate No.
11) and Sujeeva Jayasinghe, Attorney-at-Law (Preferential Candidate No.
21) were distributed in front of the Polling station No. 28,
B/Yelverton Estate Tamil School, Hali-Ela Polling Division, Badulla
District, at around 11.20 am. According CMEV field monitor E. J. P.
Chandrakumari and six others were alleged to be responsible for
distributing leaflets. The group was twice advised by the police to
move away. The Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) was threatened by
Chandrakumari, who was the UPFA polling agent this morning at the above
Polling Station.

SLMC candidate A. S. Mohamed Sawaheer (Preferential Candidate No. 2)
had come to Polling Station No. 48, B/Guruthalawa St. Thomas Vidyalaya,
Welimada Polling Division, Badulla District, at around 10.30, in the
vehicle No. 51-9305 decorated with his posters and talked to some of
his supporters in front of the polling station. A CMEV field monitor
had reported that this lasted for approximately half an hour.

Advertisements depicting ballot papers in favour of the UPFA
candidate Hema Rathnayaka (preferential No. 24) were thrown in front of
the polling station No. 35, B/Soragune Maha Vidyalaya, Haputale Polling
Division, Badulla District, at around 10.20 a.m. according to CMEV
field monitors.

Leaflets of UNP candidate Harin Fernando (Preferential Candidate No.
23) had been thrown in front of the entrance of the polling station
No.28, B/Yelverton Estate Tamil School, Hali-Ela Polling Division,
Badulla District, at around 11.40am. The CMEV field monitor, who was a
witness to the incident, reported that the vehicle number could not be
identified.

A group of supporters of the UPFA candidate Shashiendra Rajapaksa
(Preferential No. 13) at Polling Station No. 74, Attamulla Junior
School Polling Station, Moneragala Polling Division, Moneragala
District, at around 12.25pm, were stamping the betel leaf symbol and
Preferential No. 13 on the palms of the voters arriving at the
Attamulla Junior School Polling Station according to CMEV monitor
present at the time.

An incident of campaigning was reported by CMEV field monitors at
Polling station No.60, Madugalla Maha Vidyalaya Polling Centre,
Moneragala Polling Division, Moneragala District, at around 2.40pm,
where the road near the main entrance of the polling station was marked
with the JVP party symbol (bell) and the Preferential No. of UPFA
Candidate Arachchige Wijitha Berugoda (Preferential Candidate No. 04).

Voter Transportation
At Polling Station No. 05, Kahagalla Tamil School, Haputale Polling
Division, Badulla District, at around 10.30am, supporters of the UPFA
candidate M. K. Vishvanathan (Preferential Candidate No. 17) had
transported voters to the polling station in Jeep numbers LC-6260 and
KI-7867. At this time, the above candidate had been inside the polling
station reports a CMEV mobile candidate present at the time.

A CMEV mobile monitor reported an incident of voter transportation
at Polling station No. 01, B/Haputale Tamil Central College (Hall No.
1), Haputale Polling Division, Badulla District, at around 11.00am. The
supporters of the UPFA candidate M. K. Vishvanathan (Preferential
Candidate No. 17) had transported voters to the polling station in the
Van No. 62-1936.

A white van bearing the number HF 4952 and pasted with posters of
the UPFA candidate Shashiendra Rajapaksa (Preferential No. 13)
according to a CMEV field monitor had transported voters into Polling
Station No.07, Kandaudapanguwa Maha Vidyalaya Polling Center,
Moneragala Polling Division, Moneragala district, at around 12.25pm.

CMEV election monitors reported that at 11am a “Special Service” bus
transporting voters to the polling station had the Preferential No. 22
(Party name unknown) depicted on the side of the vehicle near the
Jaffna MC J/Colombuthurai Hindu Maha Vidyalaya – Hall No. 1 (Polling
Station No. 22).

CMEV Monitors Refused Entry in to Polling Stations
At around 14.40pm, the CMEV mobile monitors were not allowed to go into
the Polling Station for their monitoring activities by the SPO. A CMEV
field monitor reported that at Polling station No. 58, Dikkendayaya
Primary School, Mahiyangana Polling Division, Badulla District, the SPO
disregarded the presentation of the Election Commissioner’s letter and
refused entry to the CMEV monitors.

At Polling Station No. 43, Abayapura Kanishta Vidyalaya, Mahiyangana
Polling Division, Badulla District, at around 3.25 pm, a CMEV field
monitor reported that the CMEV mobile monitor was denied entry to the
polling station for monitoring activities by the SPO. The monitor was
removed from the Polling Station and his identification papers were
disregarded.

At around 2.30pm, the Presiding Officer of the Polling Station
refused entry to the CMEV field monitor despite producing the
permission letter provided by the Election Commissioner. A CMEV field
monitor reported that the incident occurred at Polling station No.93,
Rathabala-Aragama Junior School Hambegamuwa Polling Station, Wellawaya
Polling Division, Moneragala District.

At Polling station No.81, Moneragala polling division, Moneragala
district, at around 12.00 noon, the Presiding Officer of the Polling
Station refused entry to the CMEV mobile monitor to conduct monitoring
activities despite producing the permission letter provided by the
Election Commissioner. The incident was reported by a CMEV field
monitor at the Nishshanka Central College, Badalkumbura (Hall No.1)
Polling Station.

Voter Identification
An incident regarding identification for voters was reported by the
CMEV station monitor, at around 10:30am, at Polling station No. 21, B/
Sri Rathanapala Kanishta Vidyalaya, Badulla Polling Division, Badulla
District. Five to six voters who presented a valid Driving License as
identification were denied their vote. Additionally, the G. N of that
division has not issued any temporary Identity Cards to those who have
a Driving License. Furthermore, the SPO claimed that the Driving
License was not mentioned in the list of valid identification documents
in his possession, even though it has been recognized as such by the
Election Commissioner.

A further incident of voter identification was reported by a CMEV
field monitor at Polling station No.26, Okkampitiya Maha Vidyalaya
(Hall No.1) Polling Centre, Wellawaya Polling Division, at around
3.30pm, Moneragala district. 19 voters were prevented from casting
their ballot for failing to produce valid identification.

Polling Station No. 50, B/Wewelhinna Vidyalaya, Hali-Ela Polling
Division, Badulla District, at around 3.03 pm when about 60 people from
the near-by estate came to the polling station with their estate
Identity cards. These individuals were not allowed to vote by the SPO
and their polling cards were collected by the SPO. This incident was
reported to the CMEV field monitor who reported that the polling cards
were destroyed by the SPO.

CMEV mobile monitor reported that 50-60 voters who attempted to vote
at Jaffna MC Navanthurai St. Nicholas C.C. (Polling Station No. 41)
03.45 p.m with receipts for their ID card applications protested in front of the polling station. None of them were allowed to vote.

Election Day Report: Uva Provincial Council Elections,Jaffna MC & Vavuniya UC Elections-2009