Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 18

Read this full report as a PDF here.

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All election monitoring organizations as well as other concerned civil society groups have voiced their grave concern over the escalation of election related violence, the misuse of state property and the flouting of the authority of the Election Commissioner.   The latter is especially disturbing following the decision of the Commissioner to withdraw the Competent Authority he appointed in respect of state media institutions and the frustration he has repeatedly expressed over the consistent disregard of his directives.

CMEV reiterates these concerns and highlights the adverse impact electoral violence, abuse of state resources and violations of election laws have on the integrity of the electoral process.  Given its mandate, CMEV is particularly concerned with the escalation of violence in the last week and the likelihood of more violence in the immediate lead up to polling day and on polling day. This follows a pattern set in previous elections in which the last week of the campaign records a spike in the incidence of violence, which could persist into polling day as well.

The nature and level of violence in this election can be gauged from the following profile and comparison with the last two presidential elections in 1999 and 2005.

In this election campaign, CMEV has of 19 January 2010 recorded a cumulative total of 667 incidents of election related violence of which 294 incidents or 44% have been categorized as Major.  In the 1999 Presidential Election campaign the percentage figure for Major incidents was 48 and in the 2005 election the figure was 37%.

In this election so far 95 or 32% of the Major incidents have involved the use of firearms.  The corresponding figures for the 1999 and 2005 elections are 31% and 20% respectively.  It should be noted that the figure for this election is higher than that for the 1999 election, which was held in wartime.

This election has recorded 05 Murders, 78 incidents of Assault and 81 of Threat and Intimidation as of 20 January 2010.  As a percentage of the total of Major Incidents this works out to 1%, 26% and 27% respectively.

In the 1999 election the percentage figure for Assaults was 41% of Major Incidents and in 2005 it was 45%.  Corresponding figures for Murders and Threat and Intimidation in the 1999 and 2005 elections are 6% and 19% in 1999 and in 2005, 2% and 10% respectively.

The district wise profile of the 294 Major incidents recorded is as follows:

Hambantota– 27 or 9% of the total of Major incidents

Kurunegala district 25 or 8%

The Galle district follows closely behind with 19 incidents, Colombo and Anuradhapura districts come next with 18 incidents each.

In the 1999 election, district wise the total of 712 Major incidents broke down as follows:

Kurunegala – 97 or 13%

Colombo – 94 or 13%

Anuradhapura – 63 or 8%

District-wise corresponding figures for the181 in 2005 are as follows:

Digamadulla – 24 or 13%

Gampaha -19 or 10%

Puttalam– 17 or 9%

Given the rise in election violence in this, Sri Lanka’s first post-war election, CMEV calls on all concerned, especially the two main candidates and their supporters to act immediately to ensure the integrity of the electoral process and the credibility of this election.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 17

As of 19th January 2010, CMEV has confirmed a cumulative total of 658 incidents of election related violence of which 295 incidents have been categorized as Major. Of these, 5 incidents are Murders, 5 are Attempted Murders, 78 are Assault, 81 are Threat and Intimidation, 30 are Grievous Hurts, 35 are Hurts, 36 are cases of Misuse of State Resources and 12 are Robberies and 13 are Arsons. The total number of incidents involving the use of firearms is 95. In addition, 363 incidents have been categorized as Minor.

Download the full report here.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 16

This update released 18 January 2010.

North Western Province

Grenade Attack and Murder in Kurunegala

CMEV has learned that at approximately 7.30pm this evening, Mr. D.M. Suranga Indrajith (27), the diver of Minister of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Mr. Jayaratna Herath, was killed during a grenade attack on the UPFA party office located in Vanduragala, in the vicinity of the home of Minister Herath. According to the Director of the Kurunegala Hospital Dr. N.D.S. Rajamanthri, Mr. Indrajith was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. She stated that she had seen a wound on the victim’s chest, but that she did not examine the body any further. Dr. Rajamanthri added that the postmortem should be concluded by 7.00am tomorrow morning. Kurunegala Consultant JMO Dr. H.M.K. Senanayake when contacted, told CMEV that the Magistrate’s inquiry into the death had not yet been conducted, and that he was presently awaiting the Magistrate’s report.

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Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 14

17 January 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: As of 14th January 2010, CMEV has confirmed a cumulative total of 609 incidents of election related violence of which 271 incidents have been categorized as Major. Of these, 2 incidents of Murder, 5 incidents of Attempted Murders, 73 incidents are of Assault, 77 are of Threat and Intimidation, 27 of Grievous Hurt, 30 incidents of Hurt, 35 cases of the Misuse of State Resources and 11 incidents of Robbery and Arson respectively. The total number of incidents involving the use of firearms is 88. In addition, 338 incidents have been categorized as Minor.

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Presidential Election 2010: Special Report on murder

16 January 2010: According to North Western Provincial Councilor Mr. Sanath Nishantha Perera (UPFA), at 3.50pm, UNP supporters had shot at UPFA supporters in front of the UNP party office located in front of the Minnas Private Hospital, Madurankuliya, Puttalam District, resulting in the death of UPFA supporter Mr. Saman Kumara of Thonigala, Anamaduwa. According to the Spokesperson of the hospital, 4 other persons had been admitted to the Puttalam Base Hospital of sustained injuries during the shooting, and 3 of them have been transferred to the Kurunegala Hospital. According Director of the Kurunegala Hospital Dr. S. Rajamanthri, the 3 injured persons are not in serious condition. Two of the victims had suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and neck. They had received emergency treatment from the Puttalam Hospital prior to transfer.

Read the full report of the murder here.

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 10

CMEV received a report regarding a clash between a group of NDF supporters and a group of supporters of Western Provincial Council Member, Duminda De Silva (UPFA) near the Umagaliya ground, Kolonnawa at around 11.30 pm on 13th January 2010. It is also reported that a tense situation has arisen in the area due to the clash.

The group of supporters of Duminda De Silva, who came in 4 cabs, had intimidated a group of supporters of Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka who were decorating the stage for the meeting scheduled on 14 January. They had brandished a pistol and had attacked them. Subsequently NDF supporters also had attacked the perpetrators by stones according to reports received by CMEV.

According to CMEV special mobile team information, Peter Kelard and Sampath, who sustained injuries, have been admitted to the Colombo General Hospital. When CMEV’s special mobile team visited the place, OIC of the Wellampitiya Police Station, HQI Liyanage and his team had arrived to the scene and Army had been deployed in the area to ascertain the security. It is learnt that no complaint has been made to the police and the tense situation prevails at the time this report goes out.

Read the full report in Sinhala and Tamil here.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 9

13 January 2010 Colombo: Sri Lanka when considering the postal voting over the last two day period, CMEV has received a total of 27 incidents related to postal voting.

In addition, approximately 20% of army soldiers who requested votes have been rejected according to reports received by CMEV monitors, which was highlighted in our report yesterday. A further two incidents were reported from Ampara today, the first from Sandunpura Gajaba Infantry 3rd Batallion Camp where 100 persons applied for votes and only one person received their ballot, and the second from the Army 3rd Women’s Core where 163 persons applied for their vote, but only 112 received their ballots.

Full details of incidents are available in our report available as a PDF here.

Photos mentioned in the report above can be seen here and below.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 8

At 12.20 pm today, a bus containing UNP supporters was shot at on the Thalunna road in the Hungama area in Thangalle. Ms. Kusumawathie Kuruppuarachchi who suffered gunshot wounds to the stomach was initially admitted to the Thangalla hospital. She was subsequently transferred to the Matara hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, as confirmed by ward 6 staff of the Matara hospital. 2 other persons with injuries were admitted to the Thangalle hospital.

Also, at 1.00am this morning an unknown group lobbed a grenade at the house of SLMC supporter Mr. M.B.S. Hussein’s located in Ottamawadi, Valachchenai. Mr. Hussein called the police at the time of the incident and the police arrived at the scene shortly after.  No persons were injured, however windows, doors, and furniture of the house were damaged. The CMEV monitor was informed of this incident by Mr. L.T.M. Furkhan Pradeshiya Sabha member Valachchenai.

Read the full CMEV report here.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 7

11January 2010 Colombo Sri Lanka CMEV has confirmed 176 Major incidents of election related violence as of today, since the gazette notification of presidential election on 23rd November 2009. Most of the major incidents (39) have been reported from the Southern Province. CMEV highlights the most recent confirmed Major incidents in this report.

Download it in full here.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 3

6 January 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: CMEV has confirmed 91 major incidents of election related violence as of today, since the gazette notification of presidential election on 23 November 2009. Most of the major incidents (27) have been reported from the Southern Province. CMEV highlights the most recent confirmed major incidents in this report.

Download it as a PDF here.

Letter to the Elections Commissioner on illegal display of cut-outs, banners and posters

5th January 2010 Colombo Sri Lanka Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) sent a letter to the Election Commissioner on 05th January 2009 highlighting the illegal display of cutouts, banners and posters in public places and within the premises of Government offices throughout the country.

CMEV called upon the Election Commissioner to take immediate measures to ensure that election laws and the directives he has issued with regard to adherence to them are strictly observed by the Police and all responsible for protecting the integrity of the electoral process. The letter to the Commissioner is attached.

Download the cover letter here, and the detailed letter to the Elections Commissioner here.

Presidential Elections 2010: Field Visit Report, December 2009

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) visited selected areas of the North and East from 22 -25 December 2009 to identify the issues pertaining to the voter application process for displaced persons, the availability of required identification documents and the general context in which the campaign is being conducted. CMEV met with Government officials, political party representatives, leading civil society actors including religious leaders, the media, academics, and displaced persons.

  • CMEV notes with concern the number of applications – 31,758 – received by the Department of Elections as of 28th December. This figure could be lower since some applications may be rejected. CMEV calls on the Election Commissioner to ensure that every displaced voter who is registered in the 2008 Electoral Register will be able to vote. Considering the issues and confusion pertaining to the application process and given the assurances by senior election officials, CMEV urges the Election Commissioner to issue a special notice to the displaced voters enumerating the application procedure and requisite voter identity documentation, thereby ensuring that neither of these factors will inhibit the fullest exercise of the franchise by displaced persons. CMEV also urges the Commissioner and election officials to make sure that the displaced voters are aware of the location of cluster and special polling centres through their Grama Niladharis and Camp Officers.
  • CMEV calls on the media and civil society organizations to assist the Commissioner’s office as well as through initiatives of their own, on voter education.
  • CMEV calls upon the Commissioner and colleagues to establish an effective mechanism in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Transport Board to assure proper transportation facilities for displaced voters. CMEV urges the line ministry to consider this as a matter of priority and recommends that the Election Commissioner establish a special committee to look into the transportation arrangements.

Read the full report in English, Sinhala and Tamil.