Centre for Policy Alternatives on 7 August, 2009

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Media Communique 3: Jaffna MC & Vavuniya UC Elections 2009

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Download a PDF of this report here.

07th August, Colombo, Sri Lanka Sine the close
of nominations on 24 June 2009, the Centre for Monitoring Election
Violence (CMEV) has confirmed 08 incidents of election related violence
with regards to the elections to the Jaffna Municipal Council and
Vavuniya Urban Council.

Of these incidents, 03 assaults and 02 threats had been reported
from Jaffna MC while 01 assault, 01 incident of intimidation and 01
threat have been recorded from Vavunniya UC. The UPFA alliance was
directly accused of being responsible for 06 incidents whereas the TULF
and the DPLF were each accused of one incident each.

Jaffna Municipal Council
TNA parliamentarian, Gajendran Ponnambalam reported to CMEV that
anonymous threatening telephone calls were made to Tamils living abroad
to the effect that their relatives who reside in Jaffna should not vote
on the 8th.

CMEV received reports that approximately 3,000 polling cards were
seized from voters in Navalthurai area. TULF mayoral candidate Ananda
Sangari told CMEV that he had received similar information and was
making further inquiries. He also alleged that EPDP supporters had
procured polling cards for cash from voters.

CMEV contacted the Assistant Election Commissioner’s office Jaffna,
Chief Clerk N.B. Navaratnam, reported to CMEV that according to the
records they received from the Jaffna Post Office 40,390 polling cards
remain undelivered as of 06th August at 12.30pm. The ballots cards can be collected by voters up to 3 pm on polling day.

UNP Parliamanetarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana reported to CMEV that
the Jaffna Chief Post Master, A.Yoganayagam told him that 3,774 polling
cards have been distributed on the 07th to people who were
able to prove their identity. He suspected that some irregularities
could have happened in the distribution. ITAK authorized polling agent,
S.X. Kulanayagam alleged that 5,000 polling cards had been stolen from
the Jaffna Post office by an unknown group. CMEV was unable to verify
these allegations with the Jaffna Post Master. Kulanayagam claimed that
ITAK had received information that the UPFA was preparing forged
documents for electoral malpractice and that they had brought special
equipment to Jaffna for this purpose from Colombo.

CMEV contacted UPFA mayoral candidate, K. Theventhiram who rejected
the allegations and claimed that EPDP party leader, Minister Douglas
Devananda has strictly instructed candidates and members not to get
involved in any violence or malpractices but to ensure a free and fair
election, which reflected the peoples’ verdict. He further noted that
the UPFA has not got involved in any violence during the election
campaign.

CMEV field monitors reported that campaign posters have not been
removed. Instead tar has been applied on the symbol and the
preferential numbers. Displaying posters in spaces apart from approved
political party offices and candidates home is an election offence
according to the section 81B of Local Authorities Elections Ordinance
of no 53 of 1946

Vavuniya
Continuing campaigning activities are reported from the field. TNA
Parliamentarian Shivashakthi Anandan told CMEV that supporters of
Minister Rishad Badiudeen are continuing their campaigning for the UPFA
in the Pandarikulam area. M.P Anandan also claimed that UPFA (Sri TELO)
candidate, P.Udayarasa (candidate no 09) conducted a meeting in
Srinagar area at around 06.00pm today (7th August).

CMEV field monitors report that campaigning activities still
continues in Pattanichchoori area by ACMC (constituent party of UPFA)
and SLMC supporters targeting the Muslim voters

CMEV received reports that posters and banners have been removed by
the Vavuniya Police and some of the posters had been tarred in the town
areas. It is reported that Vavuniya Police urged the public through
loud speakers in the evening hours not to commit violence.

100,417 voters from Jaffna Municipal Council and 24,626 voters from Vavuniya Urban Council will poll on 8th August. 68 Polling stations have been set up for Jaffna MC and 18 for
Vavuniya UC apart from 16 cluster booths for Jaffna MC. CMEV will
deploy 46 stationary monitors and four mobile teams to monitor the
Jaffna MC and Vavuniya UC Elections.

Taking into account all the allegations, CMEV is of the view that
the huge difference between the actual number of voters and registered
voters and the absence of voters’ NIC numbers on the polling
cards/electoral register would increase the possibility for the
malpractices. CMEV calls up on all the political parties and the
authorities to ensure the integrity of the polls

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CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA),
the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political
Violence as an independent and nonpartisan organization to monitor the
incidence of election related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of
CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Media Communique 3: Jaffna MC & Vavuniya UC Elections 2009