North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Elections – 21st August 2008 – Media Communiqué No. 3


North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Elections

21st August 2008 – Media Communiqué No. 3

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence [CMEV] has commenced its monitoring of the Provincial Council Elections in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. CMEV has deployed 28 field monitors, whilst a further 450 day observers and 12 mobile teams have been trained for the process of Election Day monitoring in the 27 polling divisions of the two provinces.

A total number of 218 incidents have been reported to the CMEV since the close of nominations on the 04/07/08 up to 20/08/08.

Total number of incidents. Click for larger image.

Total number of incidents. Click for larger image.

Of these, 104 have been classified as Major incidents and the remaining 114 have been classified as Minor incidents.

Of the total number of incidents recorded, 118 are reported from the NCP. Of these, 86 are from the Anuradhapura district and 32 are from the Polonnaruwa district. The Sabaragamuwa Province records a total number of 100 incidents 56 from the Rathnapura district and 44 from the Kegalle district.

Of the 86 incidents recorded from Anuradhapura, 37 are Major incidents and 49 are Minor incidents. Of the cumulative number of incidents recorded from Anuradhapura district, the highest number of incidents (19) has been recorded from the Kalawewa electorate.

Of the 32 incidents recorded from Polonnaruwa, 18 are Major incidents and 14 are Minor incidents). Of the cumulative number of incidents recorded from Polonnaruwa district, the highest number of incidents (19) has been recorded from the Polonnaruwa electorate.

Of the incidents recorded (56) from Ratnapura, 27 are Major incidents and 29 are Minor incidents. Of the cumulative number of incidents recorded from Ratnapura district, the highest number of incidents (13) has been recorded from the Kolonna electorate.

Of the incidents recorded (44) from the Kegalle, 22 are Major incidents and 22 are Minor incidents. Of the cumulative number of incidents recorded from the Kegalle district, the highest number of incidents (20) has been recorded from the Kegalle electorate.

Of the total number of incidents recorded so far, 115 complaints are against the UPFA, 35 complaints are against the UNP, 04 are against JVP, 1 is against National Congress, 2 are against Police and in 61 incidents, the alleged perpetrators have not been identified.

Of the 34 incidents reported from the Anuradhapura district against the UPFA, 4 are against the supporters of Berty Premalal Dissanayake. Of the 18 incidents reported from the Polonnaruwa district against the UPFA, S.M. Jayantha, Adam Lebbe Fais and D.S. Dayawanse, each has become liable for 1 incident. Of the 7 incidents reported against UNP, UNP candidate Sydney Jayaratne is identified as the alleged perpetrator in 1 incident. Of the 30 number of incidents reported from the Ratnapura district against the UPFA, 4 are against the supporters of their candidate Premalal Jayasekara, including 1 directly naming him. Likewise, there are 4 are against the supporters of Kanchana Jayaratne another UPFA candidte. Of the 11 incidents reported against the UNP, 1 complaint is against the supporters of UNP candidate, Hasitha Samantha. Of the 33 incidents reported from the Kegalle district against the UPFA, 7 are against the supporters of Maheepala Herath, 3 are against Imitias Cader and 2 are against the supporters of Saman Jayasinghe. Imitias Cader and Saman Jayasinghe are UPFA candidates.

Incidents by District. Click for larger image.

Incidents by District. Click for larger image.

In the cumulative total mentioned above, there are 3 complaints by the UPFA against the UPFA, which implies that there are internal conflicts within the Party. The UNP has also made 46 complaints against the UPFA while the JVP has made 52 complaints. Furthermore, Ruhunu Janatha Party (RJP) has made 4 complaints in addition to the 2 complaints made by the CWC. Moreover, CMEV monitors directly reported 5 complaints against the UPFA while the Police has made 1 complaint. There are 2 complaints by unidentified groups against the UPFA. Among the total number of complaints made against the UNP, there are 30 complaints by the UPFA, 4 complaints by the JVP and 1 complaint by the CWC. There were only 4 complaints against JVP. All of them were made by UPFA. In addition, there were 59 complaints in which the party of the alleged perpetrator has not been identified.

The complaints made by the 3 major political parties- UPFA, UNP, JVP, can be classified as follows:

Breakdown of complaints. Click for larger image.

Breakdown of complaints. Click for larger image.

On account of the grave nature of incidents that have occurred up to 20th August 2008 at 5.00pm, the following incidents highlighted below require the immediate attention of all parties concerned especially the Commissioner of Elections, Senior DIG, Elections and the IGP etc.

Alleged Perpertrators. Click for larger image.

Alleged Perpetrators. Click for larger image.

Use of Firearms

CMEV observes that there is a rising trend in the use of firearms. Firearms have been used in 23 incidents that were reported or 10.5% of the cumulative total. CMEV emphasizes that this is a cause for concern. In 8 incidents, firearms have allegedly been used by the UPFA and in 2 incidents by the UNP. The JVP has not been involved in any incident in which firearms have been used. In fact, there are 13 incidents in which the firearms have been allegedly used by persons whose party affiliation is not known.

Misuse of State Resources for election campaign

Of the cumulative incidents ( 218 ) recorded, there are 8 complaints regarding the flagrant misuse of State property (all the facilities including vehicles belonging to the Provincial Councils, Chief Ministers’ Offices and official residences, telephones). All complaints are against the former UPFA Chief Ministers who are standing for re- election.

Issuance of temporary Identity Cards

CMEV believes that the step taken by the Commissioner of Elections to certify identification of voters is a positive and a progressive step towards ensuring a free and fair election, since it would reduce the instances of fraudulent voting. However, this has not been a total success.

In Monarathenna of Welikanda, a person who did not like to reveal his identity stated to CMEV that, a considerable number of voters have not received their identity cards or the certified identification documents (e.g. a certified photograph )as on the date of 20th August. In this situation, some candidates have provided photographs at their own expense. In an interview with Assistant Election Commissioner, Mr. W.H.R. Udaya Kumara in the Polonnaruwa district, a programme for the issue of temporary identification documents has been implemented on the advice of the Commissioner of Elections and about 8000 people have received them. He further stated that it was conducted until 20/08/08. However, he stated that he does not have any statistics of those who did not receive identification documents.

Police Bias

CMEV strongly believes that the partisan bias of the Police in some electorates militates against the conduct of a free and fair election. This factor will be crucial particularly in the Anuradhapura district. Mr. Ruchira Weliwatte, Magistrate and District Judge of A’pura has observed that the main reason behind the increasing violence in A’ pura is the inefficiency of the Police. He has ordered DIG K.P. Pathirana NCP range and SSP H.P. Ilangasiri of the A’pura Police division to tighten the security of the city, immediately and directly supervise the operation.

Apart from A’pura district, Polonnaruwa electorate of the Polonnaruwa district, the Rambukkana and Kegalle electorates of Kegalle district may also be prone to Police malpractices, which would give rise to the fraudulent voting. The UNP and JVP have already informed the Commissioner of Elections and the IGP about this issue.

Summary of the observations- Pre- election period

CMEV emphasizes that there is a rapid increase in the election violence as a consequence of the:

The complaints made by the 3 major political parties- UPFA, UNP, JVP, can be classified as follows:

  • Infringement of the laws relating to the election campaign by the two main political parties, UNP and UPFA
  • Political bias of the Police
  • Competition within the UPFA for preferential votes in order to be appointed Chief Minister in the NCP
  • The targeting of the JVP by the UPFA in Polonnaruwa electorate of the Polnnaruwa district
  • Violent behaviour of Mr. Maheepala Herath, former CM of Sabaragamuwa particularly in  Rambukkana, Kegalle and Mawanella electorates

The presence of TMVP cadres in the Polonnaruwa district is also a cause for concern.




Download a copy of this press release in Sinhala here, in Tamil here and in English here.

North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Elections – 20th August 2008 – Media Communiqué No. 2


North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Elections

20th August 2008 – Media Communiqué No. 2

In the last 24 hours of the election campaign period of North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Elections, there were 9 grave incidents of election related violence reported to CMEV from Anuradhapura District.

Of these, 5 were reported from Anuradhapura East electorate, 3 from the Kekirawa electorate and 1 from the Kalawawa electorate.

Electorate: Anuradhapura East

Arson 20th August, 2008 / 01:50Hrs
A gang, assumed to be supporters of Berti Pramalal Dissanayake, UPFA candidate for the Anuradhapura District, opened fire on a house belonging to Hettiarachchlage Prasanna Lakshan and damaged a car (Toyota Corrolla) parked at the house.

Arson 20th August, 2008 / 03:15Hrs
A double cab (40-2405) and a van (57-3703) owned by M.M. Anoordeen, UNP candidate for the Anuradhapura District was set ablaze allegedly by supporters of the UPFA in the Kanadara Katukeliyawa area. The assailants also fired several shots towards the house of Mr. M.M Anoordeen’s father-in-law using an automatic rifle.

Assault and damage to property 20th August 20, 2008 / 12:10Hrs
UPFA supporters Prassanna Bassnayake and Raja Basnayake allegedly damaged a house and vehicle belonging to a UNP supporter, Mayurapani Vimal Thusara, while another UNP supporter was attacked with a sword at the same location. The attackers later fled the scene, leaving behind a motorbike with registration number #NC HP 1442.

Damage to Property 20th August, 2008 / 12:30Hrs
Supporters of the UPFA North Central Ministerial Candidate Berty Premalal Dissanayake attacked and caused damage to a house belonging to Kasthuri Anuradhanayake, a Legal Officer for the UNP in the Anuradhapura District.

Arson on property of Dr. John Pulle -20th August 2008, 17:00Hrs
A group of alleged UPFA supporters damaged and set fire to a UNP Party office located at Harischandra Mw, Anuradhapura along with a house and dispensary belonging to Dr. John Pulle ,who is also the Anuradhapura District Coordinator of UNP. Three vehicles (65-1782, HB- 7797, KD 9191) were also set ablaze by the same group at the premises.

Kalawewa 20th August, 2008 / 12:30Hrs
Ajantha Wasala Bandara, Secretary of Dumindha Dissanayake, a UPFA MP for the Anuradhapura District sustained injuries due to gunshots fired by an unknown gang of people travelling in a blue colored van. It is also alleged that the assailants threw a petrol bomb at the vehicle of the victim.

Kekirawa 20th August 2008 /09:30Hrs
UPFA supporters, D. Sampath and Jayatissa, allegedly damaged the vehicle of Ashoka Gunasiri, UNP candidate for the Anuradhapura District and went on to threaten him with a handgun. H.D. Shantha, a supporter of Ashoka Gunasiri also sustained injuries during the incident.

Kekirawa  20th August 2008 /09:30Hrs
A group of alleged UPFA supporters led by Sooriya Walpola attacked and damaged a party office of the UNP in Kekirawa and damaged a van (59-4264) and a double-cab (NC HA 6374) owned by UNP candidate Sunil Dissanayake.

Kekierawa 20th, August 2008 /15:15Hrs
Group of individuals, suspected to be supporters of UPFA Chief Ministerial Candidate Berty Premalal, opened fire on a house in Kekirawa belonging to UNP supporter K.V Abeysingha, damaging a vehicle (253-1495) in the process.

Kekirawa 20th, August 2008 / 10.15Hrs
A group of alleged UNP supporters attacked and damaged a party office of Mr. Gamage Weerasena, a UPFA candidate, in Maradankadawala

It is reported to CMEV that all incidents, except the damage caused to the office of Mr.Weerasena Gamage who is a UPFA candidate for North Central Province, are allegedly committed by the UPFA against the UNP.

The supporters of Mr. Berty Premalal Disanayake, the UPFA Chief Ministerial candidate, have been identified as the perpetrators of 3 of these incidents. CMEV believes that the increasing violence in Anuradhapura District is a crucial factor which militates against the conduct of a free and fair election. We there urgently request the IGP and all other responsible officials to take all measures to ensure a free and fair election.




Maps of election violence in the lead-up to North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Elections in Sri Lanka

Sabaragamuwa and North Central Province elections violence

Sabaragamuwa and North Central Province elections violence

A map of elections related violence in the lead up to the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council elections is now live.

Click here to access the map directly.

Click here to access other maps by CMEV of elections in the past.

13th August 2008 – Media Communiqué No 01 – North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Elections


North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Elections

13th August 2008 – Media Communiqué No 01

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence [CMEV] has commenced its monitoring of the Provincial Council Elections in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces.  CMEV has deployed 27 field monitors in the 27 polling divisions of the two provinces and informed political parties, election officials, police and the civil society of their presence. All reports of election related violence and malpractice will be sent to the CMEV Secretariat in Colombo for further corroboration before public release.

A total of 101 incidents have been recorded by CMEV since the close of nominations on the 4th July 2008 up to 11th August 2008. Of these 54 have been classified as major incidents and the remaining 47 as minor incidents. The highest number of major incidents was recorded in the Anuradhapura District [19] followed by Ratnapura [13], Kegalle [09] and Polonnaruwa [13] respectively. Of the minor incidents logged by CMEV, Anuradhapura leads district-wise [19]. Apart from two attempted murders in the Ratnapura and Anuradhapura districts, the highest number of major incidents in terms of assault and robbery were also recorded in Anuradhapura district. This clearly indicates that in terms of overall incidents of election related violence it is the most tense of the four districts.

Of the incidents recorded so far, 52 complaints are against UPFA, 21 complaints are against UNP and 3 complaints are against JVP. In 24 complaints the party affiliation of the alleged perpetrators was not identified. The highest number of complaints was reported so far by JVP [37], followed by UNP [29] and UPFA [28]. Of the number of complaints by the JVP, 25 were against the UPFA and only 2 complaints against the UNP.

CMEV notes that the level of violence across the campaign has steadily increased as the election draws nearer. Pre-election violence recorded by CMEV since the close of nominations on 4th July is as follows:

Postal Votes
A postal vote of upcoming elections was held on 7th and 8th August 2008 at 941 polling centres in both provinces, of which CMEV monitors observed 136 polling centres.

Apart from two major incidents reported in Kuruwita and Aralaganwila, CMEV notes that the postal vote was held in a free and fair manner in the polling divisions it monitored.

However, there were two major incidents reported from Kuruwita of Ratnapura District and from Aralaganwila of Polonnaruwa district. In Kuruwita Police Station, 29 Police officers were not given the opportunity to cast their postal votes. They had not received ballot papers on time. When CMEV contacted the RO of the Ratnapura District he said that this was on account of a technical error. He went on to note that their right to vote could be met only through the allocation of their duty stations closer to their respective polling booths. The postal vote of the Agrarian Centre in Aralaganwila, Polonnnaruwa was held before the scheduled date. The RO Polonnaruwa in an interview with CMEV stated that the Primary investigation related to the incident was already complete and the report had been submitted to the Commissioner of Elections. Final action would be taken in accordance with the Commissioner’s decision.

Misuse of Public Property and Power
There is an increasing trend to misuse Public Property and resources during the election campaign. State owned buildings, telephones and vehicles are presently utilized for the election campaign. CMEV election monitors note that the election campaigns of former Chief Ministers are especially culpable in this regard.

Mr. Berty Premalal Dissanayake, former Chief Minister and a candidate for the office of Chief Minister in the North-Central Province flagrantly misuses all the facilities and State property (Provincial Council office, office related resources and 8 government vehicles) he had access to when he held office as part of his election campaign for re-election.

Details of misusing items are as follows:
Office:    Chief Ministers Office, Harischandra Mw. [Dharmapala Mw.], Anuradhapura
Telephone/s: 025 – 2222409, 025 – 22224855, 025 – 2222045
Vehicles:     [NCP KB – 2682], [NCP KB – 5339], [64 – 7666], [54 – 7305], [53 – 9380],
[32 – 6503], [65 – 6413] and [58 – 8333]

CMEV field monitors reported an incident related to the unethical conduct of former Chief Minister of the Sabaragamuwa Province vying for re-election, Mr. Maheepala Herath. According to the CMEV field monitors records, interviews for new admissions for a training course on jewellery production at the Gem and Jewellery Research and Training Institute was held on 5th August at Mr. Herath’s private residence (“Rathnagiri”, Kegalle) with Mr. W. M. W. Abeyrathne Bandara, a working Director of the Institute. Tellingly, an advertisement in the Lankadeepa newspaper on 4th August noted that the deadline for applications fell on 8th August.  The Director used a double-cab bearing the registration number HP-4219 belonging to the Institute to visit Mr. Herath’s residence to conduct these “interviews”.

North Central Province

The highest election related malpractices [65%] of NCP were recorded from the Anuradhapura District.  Within the Anuradhapura District, 23 incidents were recorded from Kalaweva electorate, constituting 60% of recorded incidents. There were 4 cases of assault, 1 case of hurt, 1 incident of regarding the misuse of State property, 4 related to robbery, 3 related to mischief and 11 on damage to property. The Polonnaruwa electorate recorded the highest number of incidents [65%] from the Polonnnaruwa District. Incidents included 1 assault, 2 related to robbery, 1 related to mischief, 3 incidents of threatening behaviour and 2 regarding damage to property.

Sabaragamuwa Province

The highest number of incidents [53%] was recorded in the Ratnapura District. Of these incidents 7 were from the Kolonna electorate, 5 were from the Rakwana electorate and 3 were from the Pelmadulla electorate. To date, 20 incidents were recorded from the Kegalle District. 10 incidents were from the Kegalle electorate, 4 from Rambukkana, 3 from Mawanella electorate and 1 from Aranayake, Deraniyagala and Dedigama respectively.

On account of the grave nature of the offences, incidents that occurred up to the 10th of August 2008 are highlighted below.

Attempted Murder
The attempted murder on 9th August of Mr. Lalith hettiarachchi (an active member of the JVP) recorded from the Elheliyagoda electorate in the Ratnapura District was a key incident. He is presently recovering from a gunshot wound in Ward 72 at the National Hospital in Colombo. Mr. Chameera Koswatte (Chief Ministerial candidate of JVP for the Sabaragamuwa Province) stated in an interview conducted by CMEV that “the main purpose of this incident was politically motivated”. However when CMEV asked Avissawella Police to comment on this incident, they were of the firm opinion that it was not politically motivated. Inspector of Police K. Upali Tillekaratne issued a statement that “this was perpetrated by a gang habitually involved in crimes related to “House Breaking by Night.” When CMEV spoke to the wife of the victim, Mrs. Singakkarage Siriyalatha, she too reiterated the attack on her husband was politically motivated.

The other incident was reported from the Anuradhapura – East electorate on 9th August.  A supporter of the United National Party (UNP) Chief Minister Candidate Major General Janaka Perera was hospitalized with serious gunshot injuries from an unknown gang. The gang had shot at the vehicle [57 – 9757] the victim was travelling with other supporters. The firing took place around 2am close to the “Mahajana Pola”. Mr. Nuwan Sampath Jayasinghe was admitted to the Anuradhapura Base Hospital. Media coordinator Major Dayarathne had directed the driver of vehicle to CMEV spokesmen. According to the driver, two vehicles were engaged in the attack – a cab and a Land Rover Defender. No further details of the vehicles were noted. The owner of the vehicle, Mr. Kapila Muthugala also was in the vehicle. When CMEV contacted Mr. Muthugala, he mentioned and confirmed the driver’s statement and further noted that both vehicles were green, but could not identify registration number and the persons who were in them.

When CMEV contacted a spokesman of the Anuradhapura hospital, he said that the victim, Sampath Jayasinghe (18), had undergone surgery on 9th August and discharged on 11th August. Major Gen. Janaka Perera lodged a complaint to the Anuradhapura police station on 9th August 2008 under EIB 191/62. When CMEV contacted Crime branch of the Police Headquarters in Anuradhapura, Police Sergeant Mr. Jayaweera confirmed the lodging of this complaint and said that investigations were in progress.

The most notable incident in this category was recorded from the Polonnaruwa electorate in the Polonnaruwa District in relation to a clash between two UPFA groups on the 7th of August near the 5th milepost of Medagama,Aralaganwila. As a result of this clash, Mr. R.M. Punchibanda Ratnayake (former Provincial Council member and UPFA candidate for the upcoming election) suffered grievous hurt on his left arm. He is presently hospitalised in Ward 10 at the Government Hospital in Pollonnaruwa.

In the interview conducted by CMEV, Mr. Ratnayake alleged that supporters of Mr. Saranelis Dayawanse (UPFA candidate) were the perpetrators of this incident. When CMEV contacted Mr. Dayawanse, he conceded that there was a clash between the two groups.

Aralaganwila Police also stated that the two parties had settled their differences.

Use of Firearms
During the pre-election period CMEV election monitors observe that incidents involving the use of firearms are steadily increasing. 6% of incident logged by CMEV to date involved the use of firearms.

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 non-partisan organisation to monitor the incidence of election related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.




Please download the PDF of this statement here.

Wayamba, déjà vu

The provincial election in the east has concluded with a three member UPFA majority council in place. The results released, reveal that the UPFA has managed to overturn mammoth majorities achieved by the UNP candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe in the 2005 presidential election. In terms of total number of votes cast, its majority over all other parties is some 41,000 votes.

Throughout the campaign and on polling day, the election was marred by violence and malpractice. Accordingly, the credibility of the result has been undermined and the election will join the infamous Wayamba Provincial Election in notoriety.

During the campaign, election monitors and opposition political parties alleged widespread abuse of state resources and the issue of the TMVP bearing arms, cast its shadow over the campaign. Whilst the argument was made and continues to be made, that armed TMVP cadres did not engage in active electioneering, there is no escaping the chilling effect on the voters at large, of the relationship between the political activists of the TMVP and its armed cadres.

Vulnerable to revenge
In any event, the ordinary voter has to survive beyond the election campaign and polling day. In short, he is always vulnerable to revenge and retaliatory attacks.

Violence was practiced by other UPFA members too, with the areas of Valachchenai and Kathankudy as well as the Pottuvil Polling Division being especially badly affected by violence and malpractice.

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence ( CMEV) with which this columnist is associated, called for a re-poll in these areas on the basis of reports from its monitors, as it has done in respect of LTTE violence in previous elections in the north and east. Impersonation, ballot stuffing, the chasing away of polling agents and the presence of armed groups in the vicinity of polling stations were the violations most frequently identified.

17th Amendment
The violence and malpractice reinforces the demand for the urgent implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. Specifically, the reconstitution of the Constitutional Council and its nomination of members to the independent commissions, including for elections, the police and the public service. It was the civil society cry, after all, with regard to electoral violence and malpractice that served as the catalyst for the amendment.

Whilst the implementation of the 17th Amendment is no panacea, the point that needs to be emphasised is that when it was in operation, elections were not marred by such violence and malpractice, with the exclusion of violence clearly perpetrated by the LTTE.

Independent commissions provide public servants and the police with some insurance against ‘punishment transfers’ and other forms of revenge when they stand up to the worst excesses of politicians.

Bulwark against violence
Whilst the argument may be advanced that it may not have been much of a defence against TMVP violence in this election, it could well have served as a bulwark against the violence and malpractice engaged in by non-TMVP political actors.

Even with regard to TMVP violence, would it have been the case that the much heralded entry into the democratic mainstream would have been marked by assault and intimidation of police and election officials acting in the interest of a free and fair election and without fear or favour?

The eastern poll also highlights the whole issue of the circumstances of annulment of a poll in a polling station and the ordering of a re-poll by the Elections Commissioner who can exercise all the powers of the Elections Commission envisaged under the 17th Amendment, but never appointed.

Decision to re-poll
Of particular importance here, is that the decision to re-poll must be informed by the circumstances and situation outside the polling station. This is where the impersonation is prepared, where the armed gangs roam deterring people from voting or of voting for the candidate of their choice.

Furthermore, the threat, intimidation and assault of polling agents who when inside polling stations can raise the alarm and object to impersonation and attempted stuffing, takes place outside of polling stations and most often before the polling commences.

This has been the case with officials and the police too. The issue of annulment and re-polling requires serious consideration – too often has the Commissioner warned that he would do so ; and too often has he not.

It may not necessarily be smooth sailing for the regime or the clear and cogent demonstration of meaningful devolution as the instrument of peace building, now that there is a council.

Betrayal of Tamil polity
Were Pillayan not to be made chief minister, the regime risks falling victim to the charge of betrayal of the Tamil polity in the east which it insists it has been ‘liberating,’ Thoppigala on. In these circumstances, Pillayan and his cadres are bound to misbehave more grossly than they have done so far and the possibility of new alliances jeopardising the ‘liberation’ of the east, cannot be discounted.

On the other hand, were he to be made chief minister and yet denied the resources and largesse he thinks is his due, a not dissimilar outcome may be expected from his disappointment. After all, he probably believes it is payback time for him and his cadres who played so decisive a role in winning the east from the LTTE and the provincial election from the opposition? And what of the police powers he is entitled to under the 13th Amendment?

It may well turn out to be the case that in the mind of the regime, what needed to be done in the east has been done and now priorities lie elsewhere. This could mean a series of provincial council contests aimed at exhausting and demoralising the opposition until the period between November 2009 and April 2010, in which the next presidential election can be held and the next general election must be held. Pillayan will be contained and controlled in the meantime.

And the rest of us?

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives and Co-Convenor of CMEV. This article appeared in the Morning Leader on 14 May 2008.

Eastern Provincial Council Elections, May 2008 – Recommendations of CMEV

  • The conduct of the election clearly reinforces the urgency and pivotal importance of implementing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution in full.  This entails the reconstitution of the Constitutional Council and its nomination of members to independent commissions, including commissions for the Police, Elections and Public Service – all of which have key responsibilities for the conduct of free and fair elections.
  • The serious problems observed by monitors regarding the conduct of the Police and officials responsible for the conduct of a free and fair election demands this.
  • Political parties need to ensure that their Polling Agents are present in the Polling Stations and are not deterred in fulfilling their responsibilities by threat, intimidation and assault prior to Polling Day and on Polling Day.
  • The procedures agreed upon with regard to Voter identity and the required documentation with regard to this, must be clearly communicated to the officials in the Polling Stations and strict implementation ensured. IDs required for voting must be such that they cannot be easily forged.
  • Given the violence and malpractice that takes place outside of the Polling Station and the impact it has on the exercise of the franchise, procedures must be put in place to ensure that reports of these violations are taken into account when considering whether annulment and re – polling is necessary.
  • Steps should be taken to ensure that the detailed reports of election observers/monitors stationed in Polling Stations can be received by their organizations in time to be communicated to the Election Commissioner, before the counting of votes commences.

Media Conference on election-related violence – Eastern Provincial Council Election, May 2008







CMEV Bulletin of 10th May 2008 – 3rd Release


Media Communiqué on Election-related Violence

Eastern Provincial Council Election – 2008

10th May 2008 – 2030 hrs – Media Communiqué 3

CMEV has recorded 64 incidents of violence as at 6 pm today, 10 May.  Of these, 48 have been classified as Major Offences and 16 as Minor. The majority of the Major Offences – 28 -were committed in the Batticaloa District followed by Ampara (12) and Trincomalee (08). 


Of the Major Offences, systematic impersonation was the most widespread with a particular concentration in the Batticaloa District where 15 of the 22 such incidents occurred.


Areas of serious concern in respect of violence and malpractice in the province are Valaichchenai and Kathankudy in the Batticaloa District, the Pottuvil Polling Division in the Ampara District and Thiriyai in the Trincomalee District.


CMEV calls upon the Election Commissioner to order a re-poll in these areas.






CMEV monitors observed a number of incidents of electoral malpractices and of voter impersonation in particular, in thirteen (13) Polling Stations in the Pottuvil Polling Division  Monitors observed children who looked as young as 13-15 years of age casting votes. They also observed that there was no proper procedure for the identification of voters, no designated officer to check the Identity Cards of voters and that only TMVP Polling Agents were present in these Polling Stations.


The Polling Stations in the Pottuvil Polling Division are :


42  Koraikalapu Shakthi Vidyalaya, Vinayagapuram

48 AK/Kalliyanthivu Wadivel Vidyalaya, Kalliyanthivu

49 World Vission Pre School, Thirukkovil 4

50 AK/Kanchirankuda Govt. Tamil Mixed School, Thirukkovil 4

51 AK/Thambiluvil Kalaimagal Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil (Hall No. 01)

52 AK/Thambiluvil Central College, Thambiluvil

53 AK/Thambiluvil Kalaimagal Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil (Hall No. 02)

54 AK/Thambiluvil Saraswathy Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil

70 AK/Alayadivembu Thirunavukarasu Vidyalaya, Alayadivembu

71 AK/Akkaraipattu Sri Ramakrishna Central College, Akkaraipattu Hall No.01

72 AK/Akkaraipattu Sri Ramakrishna Central College, Akkaraipattu Hall No.02

73 AK/Akkaraipattu Ramakrishna Mission School, Akkaraipattu

74 AK/Akkaraipattu As-Sipaya Vidyalaya, Jamath Alim Nagar



UNP supporters claimed that they were assaulted and their national ID Cards snatched in close proximity to Galode Vidyalaya (Polling Station 51) and Miriswatte Vidyalaya (Polling Station 45) this morning. The Padiyathalaawa Police when contacted by CMEV, confirmed that they had received a complaint from the UNP supporters. The Police said they would reinvestigate and have summoned the complainants for this purpose. 




CMEV monitors reported that at 3.20 pm, a number of vehicles including jeeps and pick-ups were observed moving around Ampara Town. Some of these vehicles did not have license plates and in some of them, there were individuals dressed in civilian clothes carrying arms.




CMEV was informed of alleged voter impersonation taking place at Polling Station 112 BT Japiathul Arabic Collage, Kattankudy, Batticaloa Polling Division at around noon. Farook Majeed Deputy Chairman, SLMC reported that a group of people standing in front of the Polling Station were distributing false ID cards to voters who were then being sent in to vote. The group continued to stay nearby, even up to midday.


Grama Sevaka Mr Mohamed Jaroof complained that he was threatened by UPFA supporters following an attempted impersonation of a voter. The Senior Polling Officer in Polling Station 114 Meera Balika Maha Vidyalaya reportedly called and inquired into the validity of a certified identity card (a replacement for the national ID) from the GS as the details on the card did not tally with the voting list. The GS denied that he had issued the certified National Identity Card. This had reportedly led to the GS being intimidated by UPFA supporters.



An UNP Polling Agent, M. Siyath, was assaulted allegedly by supporters of M.L.A. Hisbullah outside the Polling Station 110 Hiluriya Vidyalaya, Kattankudy at 10 a.m this morning.



In Polling Station 24 and 25 BT Murakkoddanchenai Ramakrishna Mission Tamil Mixed School, Kalkuda Polling Division unidentified individuals in civilian clothing were observed obtaining information from Police Officers and making inquiries as to how many people had voted. The Police Officers were observed as having passing on this information. 





An eye witness, who refuses to be named for reasons of his personal security, informed CMEV monitors of incidents of ballot stuffing in Polling Stations in Thiriyai – namely. Thiriyai  M.V. Hall 2 (B 86), Thiriyai MV Hall 3 (B 87) and Al –Nooriya MV Hall 2 (B 83).  He claims that by 7am this morning people transported in a bus and several vans entered the Polling Stations and stuffed the ballot boxes.  In Polling Station, Thiriyai MV Hall 1 ( B84) the SPO and Police resisted and prevented ballot stuffing.



In the Trincomalee Polling Division, as reported to the Trincomalee Police and confirmed by CMEV monitors, unidentified persons, arriving in a Dolphin van 51-4198, an Intercooler 64-9347 and an Indian Jeep bearing the number WP HH 7288, had assaulted UNP MP Sarath Chandra Rajakaruna and his team and forcibly taken their camera. The incident  took place at around 11.30 a.m. When contacted by CMEV, the Trincomalee Police Station stated that they could not confirm this incident.  



At 11am, CMEV monitors observed attempted voter impersonation at Polling Station 90 Naduoooththu Government Muslim School, Kinniya. Persons attempting to vote had to be turned away as their NICs did not tally with the Voter list. The area around the Polling Station was noted to be tense.



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 non-partisan organization to monitor the incidence of election related violence. It is currently constituted by CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.



CO – CONVENOR                                                      CO – CONVENOR                                          CO – CONVENOR


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“Large scale impersonations, intimidation and widespread violence” – Interview with Sunanda Deshpariya (in English and Sinhala)

Interview with Sunanda Deshapriya of the Free Media Movement (FMM) which is part of the CMEV, conducted at around 7.20pm today. Sunanda was in the East heading some of the CMEV monitoring efforts and was still in the field when this interview was conducted. 

Listen to his interview streamed in English here or download as a MP3 file by clicking this link

Listen to his interview streamed in Sinhala here or download as a MP3 file by clicking this link