Local Authority Election 2011: Final Media Communiqué on Election Day

17th March 2011 Colombo, Sri Lanka, 6:00PM: At the end of polling, CMEV has recorded 56 election violations in the elections to the 91 local bodies it monitored. Of these 27 are major incidents and 29 are minor incidents. The major incidents included one report of murder, a grenade attack, seven incidents of assault, seven incidents of intimidation including five reports of an intimidatory presence around the polling station, the obstruction of polling agents, voters and election monitors, as well as the chasing away of voters. The alleged perpetrators identified as being responsible for major incidents of violence are the UPFA (16), UNP (2), TMVP (1) and the Police (1).

As CMEV did not monitor the election to all bodies that polled today, it is not in a position to make an overall comment on this phase of the Local Government elections. However, we note the recurrence of incidents of violence and violations of election law including as a consequence of intra-party competition both at the personal level and the level of constituent parties of the ruling alliance. We also note that as a consequence of a lacuna in the law, the Department of Elections could not provide transport to IDPs to polling centres. As a result, political parties did so especially in the Puttalam area. CMEV hopes that in the future the participation of all citizens in Sri Lanka in the electoral process will not in anyway raise questions about undue partisan influencing of their exercise of the franchise.

CMEV has received the following reports after the release of our second media communiqué:

Assault

Northern Province, Mannar District, Mannar PS, around 10.00PM

A CMEV monitor reports that a voter named Robel has been assaulted in front of the Sullukudirippu Roman Catholic Maha Vidyalaya by two policemen and four people who arrived in a white van. When CMEV contacted Mannar Police Station, Sergeant Upali claimed that they did not receive any complaints regarding the incident and further stated that the police station will inform the mobile police unit to conduct further investigations.

Southern Province, Hambanthota District, Tangalle UC

UNP parliamentarian Dilip Wedaarachchi reported to CMEV that UNP candidate Abdul Rahuman was attacked by UPFA supporters near the President’s residence Carlton. The victim received serious injuries and has been admitted to the hospital.

Western Province, Gampaha District, Wattala PS, at around 9.30am

UNP candidate Charles Ranmuthu reported to CMEV that he and his supporters were attacked by an unidentified group consisting of 25 persons who came in two vehicles (WPHH 3000, 5668) near the Nayakanda Good Shepherd Convent polling centre. The victims have not received injuries and at the time of the incident there was a policeman present. UNP candidate Ranmuthu alleged that the perpetrators are supporters of UPFA.

North Western Province, Kurunegala District, Nikaweratiya PS, from 12.00 – 1.00pm

UNP candidate R.B Ekanayaka (NO. 08) reported to CMEV that a group of UPFA supporters including the Secretary of Minister Jonston Fernando, Sunil Jayaweera, had tried to attack him with an iron rod near the Diwulagoda Maha Vidyalaya polling centre. When Mr. Ekanayake escaped on his motorbike they fired 6-8 gunshots. The perpetrators have smashed the victim’s motorbike (NWWM FB14) and his uncle’s Nissan Vehicle (301-1626 FB14). They also attacked neighbouring houses. The victim was not injured. He has complained about the incident to the SPO, but has failed to lodge a complaint with the police due to a fear of reprisals.

Voter transportation

Southern Province, Hambantota District, Lunugamwehera PS, around 12.40PM

A CMEV monitor reports that posters of UPFA candidate Walgama Wadduge Ajith Kumara aka Chooty Malli (NO.08) have been dispersed around the Kudagammana Prathamika Vidyalaya polling centre. His supporters are involved in voter transportation in a jeep (52-8486).

Voter intimidation

Southern Province, Hambantota District, Tissamaharama PS, at around 2.45PM

CMEV monitor reports that a group of 15 UPFA supporters are stationed near the Mahasenpura Maha Vidyalaya polling centre with a list of voters’ names.

Continuous campaigning on Election Day

Southern Province, Hambantota District, Tissamaharama PS, at around 12.40PM

Leaflets of UPFA candidate Wijenayaka (NO. 04) have been dispersed near the Muthiyammagama Kanishta Vidyalaya polling center. Leaflets of UPFA candidate R.A Gayan Sadharuwan (no.08) have been distributed by his supporters in a cab (WPPP 4313).  A three-wheeler pasted with stickers of UPFA candidate Wijenayaka (NO.04) has been transporting voters into the polling centre.