Centre for Policy Alternatives on 8 April, 2010

Parliamentary Elections 2010: Election day media communiqu? No 1

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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.

SABARAGAMUWA PROVINCE

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.

CENTRAL PROVINCE

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.

EASTERN PROVINCE:

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.

Parliamentary Elections 2010: Election day media communiqu? No 1