Presidential Election 2015: Post Election Communiqué 02

Download this press release in Sinhala here or as a PDF in English here.

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14 January 2015      

At present CMEV has recorded a total of 45 incidents with 27 major incidents and 18 minor incidents in the post poll period. The rise in such incidents is worrying and CMEV urges the President and the law enforcement officers to take immediate action to prevent further incidents and to bring the perpetrators of those detailed below, to book.

13th January petrol bomb attack in Galle

It was reported to CMEV that a house belonging to Minister Sajin Vass Gunawardena in Ambalangoda Thuduwa Mulla had been attacked. According to the security guard who was there at the time, three petrol bombs had been thrown at the house at about 8. 45 pm which caused damages to the walls and windows of the house. A police complaint has been filed at the Ambalangoda Police Station in pages 78, 79 and 80. Speaking to CMEV, Mr Gunawardena stated that this type of violence must be stopped.

12th January residence stoned in Polonnaruwa

CMEV received a complaint from the Polonnaruwa Electorate where the residence of D.R. Asanthika Munaweera, a supporter of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) living at 15/19C, Udawela Nawanagaraya was stoned at about 2 am. According to the victim, she and her two children had been at home at that time and her mother’s house which was also nearby, had been stoned.

11th January attack in Polonnaruwa

According to the CMEV monitor in Polonnaruwa, a group of people had broken into the house of D.M. Leelawathi and K.M. Karunarathne, supporters of New Democratic Front (NDF), at about 1.30 pm and attacked and wounded the residents including their two sons. The assailants had arrived in motorcycles carrying metal rods and attacked the four people in the house. Both parties suffered injuries in the fight that ensued, with one of the sons of the victims Sunil Premaratne (aged 32) rendered mute after severe head injuries. The victims have been taken to the Polonnaruwa Hospital while the assailants were taken to Welikanda Hospital for treatment. A police complaint was filed by Mr Karunarathne at the Welikanda Police Station under CIN 01 355/57. In the complaint, they have accused several people namely, Rukman, Chamara, Vikum, Manjula, Asanka and Chaminda who are known to be supporters of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). According to the CMEV monitor, this incident had followed a dispute that took place on the day before the Presidential Elections (January 7th) when the victims had been engaged in campaign activities supporting NDF and the assailants had confronted them.

11th January UPFA supporter’s house burnt in Chilaw

It was reported to CMEV that the residence of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporter Uruliyagamage Bandula had been burnt at about 10 30 pm by United National Party (UNP) supporters led by UNP Pradeshiya Sabha member Lalith Ananda. A police complaint has been filed at the Madampe Police Station under MCR 66/62.

11th January UPFA supporter’s house burnt in Rakwana

Another incident of a house being set on fire was reported to CMEV from the Rakwana area. The house belonged to United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporter Lionel Fernando who suspects supporters of New Democratic Front (NDF) to be responsible for it. He has filed a complaint at the Rakwana Police Station under MOIB 138/62.

11th January attack in Kandy

CMEV received a complaint of an attack on Supun Pushpakumara, spokesperson for United National Party (UNP) who was threatened by Pradeshiya Sabha member K. Rajanayaka (a supporter of UNP). According to Mr Pushpakumara, the assailant and his followers had arrived at his house in two cabs and called out to him. When he went outside to meet them, they had beaten him and left him in a nearby ditch. He had filed a police complaint at the Galaha Police Station under MOB 363/21.

11th January UNP convoy attacked in Kandy

An assault in Pathadumbara in Kandy to a convoy led by opposition leader United National Party (UNP) A.G. Wijethunga was reported to CMEV. The convoy consisting of 1 bus, 10 three-wheelers and 4 lorries, had been leaving a meeting addressed by President Maithripala Sirisena when it was attacked. According to Mr Wijethunga, about 30 supporters of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Pradeshiya Sabha member, U. S. Prasanna had halted the bus and attacked it. 9 individuals had been admitted to the Jambugaspitiya Hospital and later transferred to Peradeniya Hospital. A police complaint had been filed under CIB 11169/130. CMEV was informed by the Wattegama Police Station that three suspects were arrested and that 8 persons were receiving treatment at the Peradeniya Hospital.
11th January UPFA office stoned in Madirigiriya, Polonnaruwa

A CMEV monitor in Polonnaruwa reported an attack on a United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) office in Polonnaruwa by a group of unidentified people at about 1 pm. Damages include the destroying of UPFA cutouts.

11th January residence stoned in Polonnaruwa

The stoning of a residence in Polonnaruwa by a group of unknown people at about 11.30pm, was reported to CMEV. According to the resident Anuradha Sandamali who is a supporter of United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the house had been repeatedly pelted with stones which caused damages to the house. A police complaint had not been filed.

11th January Tar attack in Anuradhapura

It was reported to CMEV that the residence of N.M Nawaratna Banda who is a United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporter (No 530, Hurulu Nikawewa, Galenbinduna Wewa) had been damaged by a tar attack by unknown people at about 2am.

 

10th January attack in Gampaha

CMEV was informed of an attack in Ja Ela when 10 – 12 vehicles had been driven to the residence of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporter Sunith Gunasekara and assaulted his wife and mother. A police complaint had been filed under CIB III 107/135 at the Ja Ela Police Station and in it, the suspect is identified as United National Party (UNP) Urban Councillor Anju.

 

10th January threat and intimidation in Kandy

It was reported to CMEV that Prof. Sujith Nissanka’s life had been threatened by four unidentified people who had arrived in a double cab at the Kandy Sokanchi Primary School at about 7.30 pm. Prof Nissanka had predicted the victory of President Maithripala Sirisena in a TV programme on Sirisa TV recently. A police complaint had been filed under 119 CIB 314/11.

 

9th January threat and intimidation in Polonnaruwa

It was reported to CMEV that the residence of A.G. Dilani Gaya Sanjiwani, a supporter of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was broken into by a group of people who had threatened the residents. A police complaint had been filed at the Aralaganwila Police Station under EIB 251/53 and in it, a person known as Dharmarathna, a supporter of New Democratic Front (NDF) has been named as a suspect.

A similar incident took place on the same day at the residence of Dugganaralage Biso Manike, a supporter of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), when a group of unidentified people had broken into their residence at about 9.45pm and caused damages to property including doors and windows. A police complaint had been filed at the Aralaganwila Police Station under EIB 258/55.

8th January polling agents attacked in Gampola, Kandy

It was reported to CMEV that three polling agents on duty at the Mountain Temple Building Polling Station in Gampola had been attacked by United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Urban Councillor Dharshana Nayanatharanga and supporters. The three individuals S.G.H.M. Jayalal, S.L. Bandara and S. Prasad Kumara were attacked soon after the ballot boxes were ready to be taken to the counting centres.

Presidential Election 2015: Post Election Communiqué

Download PDF of this press release here. Download in Tamil here.

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12 January 2015

CMEV continued to monitor the post election situation and note several incidents reported in the period 9-12 January. At present CMEV has recorded 11 major incidents and 6 incidents in the post poll period. There is one casualty from post poll violence and several instances of assault, threat and intimidation. CMEV notes that most of the victims in the incidents reported are from the UPFA.

CMEV notes that President Maithripala Sirisena urged non -violence in the post poll period but unfortunately the incidents report targeting of political opponents. Political parties and their leaders must ensure that their members and supporters desist from violence and urge the authorities to conduct independent investigations and hold to account perpetrators of violence.

Following are some of the incidents reported to CMEV:

10th January, three injured one dead in Puttalam

CMEV was informed of a murder in Kumbutukuliya, Chilaw. Six UNP supporters including Warnakulasuriya Manjula Prasanna had driven from Bangadeniya to Kumbutukuliya at about 1.50pm and visited J.R Sarath, a supporter of UPFA,and his son. A clash ensued between the two parties in which Manjula Prasanna received injuries to his head. He subsequently succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on the same day at the Chilaw base Hospital.

CMEV spoke to Chilaw Police, OIC Kasthuriarachchi who said that the suspects were arrested and investigations are underway. The three people who received injuries during this clash are undergoing medical treatment at the Chilaw Hospital.

10th January threat in NikaweratiyaKurunegala

An unidentified gunmen had arrived at H.M. Priyanthi Hirukumari’s (supporter of National Democratic Front) residence at about 8.30pm on 9th January in Nikaweriatiya and threatened her to not get involved in politics. She had been with her husband when the assailant had arrived and had called 119. No complaint has been filed with the Police.

11th January, Tar attack in Anuradhapura

United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporter B.G Premachandra’s house located at No 534 Hurulunikawea, Galenbidunuwewa was attacked by two unidentified motorcyclists using tar around 10.30 pm yesterday. Mr.Premarathne informed CMEV that he has not filed a complaint with the Police.

11th January, Tar attack in Anuradhapura

United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporter Noel Indika Premawansha’s house was attacked by unidentified gang of people using tar around 1.30 am yesterday.

According to Galenbidunuwewa police station, no complaint has been made with them.

11thJanuary, Tar attack in Anuradhapura

United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporter B.K.D Madushan’s house located in No, 530, Hurulunikawewa, Galenbidunuwewa was attacked by an unidentified group of people using tar yesterday.

According to the inquiry done from Galenbidunuwewa Police station they have not received any complaint regarding this incident.

11th January Tar attack in Anuradhapura

CMEV received a report from Anuradhapura about a tar attack on K.G Mallika who is a supporter of UPFA, by unknown persons. A white van – 64-6463 – parked in the garden had been damaged in this attack along with the front and side walls of the house. A police complaint has not been filed.

11th January, Threatened and attempted to hit a UPFA supporter in Anuradhapura.

CMEV received a complaint that a supporter of the United National Party (UNP),Anura Bandara had threatened and attempted to hit UPFA supporter B.K Danuka Madushan in front of the UNP Party office in Galenbidunuwewa.

The Galenbidunuwewa Police station informed CMEV that no police complaint was made regarding this incident.

11th January, Maithriplasirisena’s supporter was attacked in Batticaloa

CMEV was informed that a supporter of President Maithripala Sirisena was attacked yesterday. According to the victim MrJeyarathnam a group (7) of Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal supporters had cut his hand using a sharp knife and had threatened him and demanded to know who the supporters of Mr Sirisena are.

Victim has filed a complaint (141/30) in Valiaichenai Police station, According to Valachenai Police officer Mr M.B. Thibbettumuwe, this celebration of the newly appointed President ended in violence.

11th January, Assault in Anuradhapura.

CMEV was informed that supporters of United National Freedom Alliance (UPFA) P Dayapala and Wijerathne were assault in front of ‘PilimePansala’ in Hurulunikawewa yesterday around 10.00am. According to them United National Party (UNP) supporter Anura Bandara had slapped them and shouted abuse. Furthermore he had threatened Mr Dayapala saying “Thorahanawawedithogeoluwatakaluthelwakkarannathibune” Police complaint has not been filed.

9th January attack in Kandy

An incident in Yatinuwara where six people including Bobby Dassanayake had broken and entered in to the residence of K.V.S. Abeywickrama UPFA opposition leader was reported to CMEV. The assailants had entered the house from the balcony, wounding the elder son Nipuna. A struggle ensued between the two parties with injuries to both of them. An eyewitness, Tampitiya Wanaratna Thero from the Pilimatalawe Paranagala Temple in close proximity to the house, confirms the situation. A police complaint had been lodged under CIB 5/2015. 

8th January UPFA PS chairman’s house stoned in Trincomalee

CMEV received a report from Trincomalee stating that Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Kapila Nuwan Athukorale’s residence has been stoned by unknown persons.

Request for a Depoliticised Public Service and Introduction of Reforms

Download a PDF of this letter here.

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H.E Maithripala Sirisena
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat”
Colombo 01

10th January 2015

Your Excellency,

Request for a Depoliticised Public Service and Introduction of Reforms

We write to you as two independent election monitoring bodies which have monitored elections in Sri Lanka for several years and proposed electoral reform. We write to urge you to take immediate steps to ensure a public service that is depoliticised and non-partisan.

At this historic juncture in the political landscape in Sri Lanka, we believe steps are needed to ensure a public service strengthened by the appointment of secretaries to ministries and other key officials who have the necessary experiences and training required for the respective office and not on the basis of political and other considerations. We have previously observed that secretaries and other key positions to Ministries and other State institutions were politicized with many involved in and/or supporting politicians and political parties. Such practices severely undermined the independence and integrity required of the public service to ensure the effective implementation of government policy. This is an opportunity to correct past wrongs and to ensure appointments made are based on merit and for the furtherance of good governance and democracy in Sri Lanka.

In this context, it is paramount to facilitate the appointment of independent institutions including independent commissions for elections, police and public service and to introduce much needed constitutional and legal reform to provide for the integrity of the electoral reforms. We look forward to engaging with you and others in Government regarding this.

Thank you,

P.Saravanamuttu, Co-Convenor, CMEV
Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director, PAFFREL

Presidential Election 2015: Election Communiqué 2

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CMEV notes that polling has been brisk but a few major incidents have been reported. Three explosions have so far been reported on the day of polls. The first was in Point Pedro reported in Communiqué 1. A second incident involved an explosion from Beruwala targeting a house of a Muslim businessman. No injuries were reported. The third incident from Vavuniya is provided below.

CMEV also notes several incidents of assault, threat and intimidation allegedly by ruling party politicians and their supporters. Some incidents are as follows –

Grenade explosion outside Vavuniya polling station

A grenade explosion took place near Nelukkulam Kalaimagal Maha Vidyalaya, Polling Station 32-33-34, Vavuniya at 2.30 pm. The explosion took place 50m near to the gate of the polling station. No injuries were reported. The police are investigating.

Two women struck by UPFA Deputy Minister in the Attanagalla Electorate, Gamapaha District

A report has been received by CMEV that UPFA Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardana and a group of supporters have hit two women, near the Yatiyana Junior School (Polling Centre no: 51) at approximately 1.00 pm on the 8th of January. It was also reported that Deputy Minster Gunawardana and his group of supporters have been travelling in 7 vehicles in and around the area. CMEV is yet to receive further information regarding this assault.

Assault near Mihintale Polling Station

CMEV received a report that North Central Minister S.M. Ranjith, his supporter Sumith and others had assaulted Wimalasiri A.H.M. and a few other people the culprits were seen with wooden rods and guns. The victim, Wimalasiri A.H.M. has been admitted to the Senapura Hospital. No complaint has been lodged.

Minister R.M. Ajantha Kumara Jayasinghe intimidating voters in Kalawewa Anuradhapura

CMEV received a complaint that Minister R.M. Ajantha Kumara Jayasinghe was intimidating voters and asking them to vote for President Rajapaksa near the Thambuttegama Community Hall in Kalawewa, Anuradhapura.

SLMC member assaulted and threatened.

CMEV received a report that supporters of Minister A.L.M. Athaula’s (National Congress) have assaulted and threatened a Sri Lanka Muslim Congress member, Mr. Thalha in Akkaraipattu. Mr. Thalha has made a police complaint regarding this.

Allegations of Iniya Bharathi entering Polling Centre in Thirukovil

Eyewitnesses informed CMEV of SLFP organizer, Iniya Bharathi, entering Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalayam Polling Station (number 79) at 11.45 am in Thirukovil and allege that he carried with him extra ballot papers which he stuffed into the ballot boxes. CMEV monitor at the centre confirms Iniya Bharathi entering the polling centre but no other information is presently known. The Commissioner of Elections has been informed by CMEV and is presently investigating the situation.

CMEV received a couple of incidents where continuing campaigning and other violations were committed by the EPDP.

Voters escorted to the polling station by EPDP members

CMEV received a complaint at 8.55 am that Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) local council member Iyathurai Sri Rangeswaran and escorted a few voters from the KKS electorate, polling division C in Jaffna to the Tellipalai Mahajana College (polling station number 32) to vote.

Campaigning in front of polling stations in Kilinochchi

CMEV monitor in Kilinochchi reported at 10.15 am that one EPDP member and one member of the Pradeshiya Sabha, along with some Samurdhi Development Officers, are present at the entrance of the polling station at Punnalneeravi Government Tamil Mixed School (Polling Station 57), urging voters to vote for President Rajapaksa.

Intimidating the voters in Puttalam

CMEV received a report at 9.15 am from the Palaviya Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya, No.42 polling station, the SPO was standing near the polling booth and inspecting in how people are casting their votes. When the CMEV monitor had inquired, he has stated that he was monitoring whether the ballot papers were being taken out of the polling station.

Voters picked up by a private bus and taken to polling stations

It was reported to the CMEV at 8.05 a.m. that ten persons comprising of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporters and civil defence forces picked up voters along the route to Kiribbanwewa Vidyalaya (No.87), a polling station for people of the Mullaitivu area. They had been picked up by a private bus bearing the license plate number HT6173 by people wearing red t-shirts. CMEV monitors have photographic evidence.

Army Officer standing outside polling station in Visvamadu, Mullaitivu

CMEV has received a report around 8.35 am of an Army officer standing outside the Bharathy Vidyalaya, Visuwamadu – Hall No. 2 polling station (No. 54) in the polling division “C” Mullaitivu, of the Vanni Electorate of the Mullaitivu District.

Election Day Communiqué 1

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Polling for the Presidential Election 2015 commenced at 7am. One incident of an explosion was reported during this period from Point Pedro, Jaffna. CMEV was informed that the explosion was caused due to a hand grenade with no injuries reported.

CMEV received a report of voters being prevented from voting as more than 200 of them living in Nagavillu and Huseniya, Puttalam whose polling stations are in Mannar, are unable to travel there as the buses are blocked by Puttalam Urban Council Chairman, Mr K.A. Baiz and his supporters. From last night, Baiz and his supporters threatened the CTB and private bus drivers and prevented them from going to these villages.

CMEV is concerned that voters are being prevented from exercising their franchise and urge the authorities to take immediate action. CMEV has raised the issue with the Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya urging immediate action. He informed CMEV that he is aware of the situation.

CMEV received a number of incidents where attempts have been made to intimidate of voters. Between 7.30 – 8.30am UPFA supporters at Arafa Primary School, Polling Station 5, Weligama, Matara attempted to force voters to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

CMEV also notes several areas where there was no privacy in the voting booths in the polling centers and where voting is visible to persons in the polling station and outside. Areas where this has been reported included Matara (Polling centres 40-41), Pottuvil (Polling centre 64) and Mullaitivu areas (Polling centre 77).

CMEV is continuing to receive reports of campaigning on Election Day despite it being forbidden under electoral law. Some of the reports received include unsolicited SMS messages being circulated and distribution of campaign material in and around polling stations. CMEV received a number of such complaints all against the UPFA including:

  • A mass SMS message circulated in Sinhala from the number +94766887347 urging recipients to vote for the betel leaf. CMEV attempted to contact the user of the phone, however no one responded.
  • A mass SMS message in Tamil calling for a boycott of the election from the number +778313850. CMEV also received reports of SMS messages in Tamil calling for a rejection of candidate Maithripala Sirisena sent via numbers +775478817 and +770217836.
  • Canvassing for the UPFA candidate around the Deraniyagala Kanishta Vidyalaya polling station 23, Deraniyagala, Kegalle at around 8.00 am.
  • UPFA leaflets were distributed near the Allepola Maha Vidyalaya polling station 10 in Balangoda, Ratnapura at 7:05 am.
  • An unknown party distributed leaflets instructing voters to cast their vote for the betel leaf (UPFA) on the road leading to the Ahaliyagoda polling station 40, Ratnapura at 8:30 am.
  • A small group of people had arrived in a three-wheeler (NW AH 3788) at the Bogawalana polling station, No 36, Dambadeniya, Puttalam and distributed printed cards in support of the UPFA.
  • About 100 meters away from the Weuda Kanishta Vidhyalaya, No 04 polling station, Kurunegala, group of persons have distributed UPFA cards with the betel symbol.
  • From around 7am onwards fake ballot papers marked in favour of President Rajapakse were handed out to voters within 500 meters of the polling station Number 75, Al- Hamra Muslim Maha Vidyalayam, Irakkakandy, Trincomalee. Similar reports were received near Soranathota Primary School (Polling Center No. 14), in the Viyaluwa electorate in the Badulla district.

8th January – voters transported by a private bus to polling stations

CMEV was informed at 8.05 a.m. that ten persons comprising of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) supporters and civil defense forces picked up voters along the route to Kiribbanwewa Vidyalaya (Polling Center No. 87), Mullaitivu. They were picked up by a private bus bearing the license plate number HT6173.

Presidential Election 2015: Media Communique 15

Download the PDF of this press release in English here.

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7th January

The day prior to polling witnessed the first fatality of the Presidential Election of 2015. Mr Shantha Dodagangoda who was critically injured in a shooting incident at Kahawatte, Ratnapura on the morning of Monday 5th January, died at 3.05 pm today at the Ratnapura hospital. Although the Pelmadulla Magistrates Court issued an arrest warrant for Deputy Minister of Power & Energy, Premalal Jayasekera, Minister Nilantha Jayakodi and Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Vajira Dharshana de Silva on 5th January, no arrests had taken place as of the 7th.

CMEV is extremely concerned by the rise in election-related violence and violations a day prior to polls including a death threat to a CMEV monitor by a Pradeshiya Sabha Minister and continuous death threats faced by human rights defenders (HRDs). These violations demonstrate an inability among officials within the present system to take necessary steps to address the culture of impunity. CMEV urges the authorities to take all steps to ensure the integrity of the poll.

CMEV received two reports of attempts to pay for identification documents from two different districts. In Akkaraichennai, Muttur in Trincomlee District, CMEV received a complaint stating that National Identity Cards and Drivers Licenses, have been collected in exchange for approximately Rs. 1000, by unknown persons. CMEV was informed by TNA Northern Provincial Council member Mr. Janadharan that he suspects UPFA supporters are involved in this incident. In Beruwela, Kalutara District, CMEV monitor had witnessed an incident where a UPFA supporter and former Organiser of the Urban Council, Mr. Mohamed Marjan, handing out Rs. 5000 each in exchange for National Identity Cards.

After the close of the campaign, CMEV has received a number of reports of the distribution of campaign material and other propaganda activities. A poster of President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been given out with the “Tharuni” newspaper on the 7th of January at Bibile. Complaints have also been received regarding an article signed by Minister Nimal Siripala Silva with content against Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena, being distributed by supporters of the Minister at Lower Street in Badulla at approximately 4.45 pm on the 7th of January. Copies of “Litha” (charts of auspicious times) with the picture of President Rajapaksa, have been distributed in the Wellawaya area by supporters of the Wellawaya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Mr. Rohana Wanniarachchi.

Another area of concern has been attempts to influence voters through misinformation circulated to confuse and discourage voters. CMEV was informed of a specific handbill that was circulated in Kilinochchi on the 6th of January. According to the complaint, the handbill discourages voters from casting their vote, with content against Common Presidential Candidate Maithirpala Sirisena and President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The handbill is printed under the name of the ‘Independent Group of the Tamil National Alliance’. The TNA has denied involvement with the issuing of such a statement.

CMEV wishes to reiterate its concern about the presence of the military adversely impacting voter turnout especially in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Throughout the 6th & 7th January, CMEV has received many expressions of concern and allegations of the intimidatory presence of the military and therefore raises this issue yet again as one of serious concern.

Incidents Reported on 7 January

7th January – Death threat to CMEV monitor in Kalaweva, Anuradhapura District

CMEV Monitor R.S.S. Doragamuwa was threatened via a phone call by UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha Minister Nimalsiri who threatened to break his arms, legs, and to murder him on the 9th of January. The threat was attributed to the CMEV monitor not supporting President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and also because of his involvement in Election Monitoring.

7th January – Military officials in possession of ballot box and ballot papers in Upparu, Muttur, Trincomalee District

CMEV received reports in the morning of Navy officials at the Koganna Navy Camp in Upparu, Kinniya, Trincomalee being in possession of a ballot box and ballot papers.  CMEV has notified the Commissioner of Elections regarding this matter.

CMEV also previously communicated to the Commissioner of Elections and the Assistant Commissioner for Trincomalee District that approximately 100 ballot boxes were being filled at approximately 1.00pm by two high level naval officers at the Sober Island Resort, Trincomalee, which can only be accessed via boats departing from the Trincomalee Naval Base. The Assistant Commissioner subsequently informed CMEV at 4.00pm that he had sent personnel to the Sober Island Resort to check on the allegation and found it to be false.

7th January – Ballot papers and a ballot box held by Navy in the Koganna Camp, Kinniya, Trincomalee District

CMEV was informed of an incident where the Sri Lanka Navy is allegedly to be in possession of a ballot box and ballot papers, which is reportedly being kept at the Koganna camp, in Upparu, Kinniya, under the protection of Senior Navy officials. This incident too was reported by CMEV to the Election Commissioner.

7th January – Text message circulated in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu

CMEV received complaints regarding a text message, which has been circulated in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu from a blocked number, asking the recipients to vote for President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

7th January – Message to Nalanda College Old Boys’ Association

An email sent from President Mahinda Rajapapaksa on the 7th of January to the Old Boys’ Association of Nalanda College was forwarded to CMEV. The message focuses on the shared Nalanda connection between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the recipients in a general appeal to alumni to fight for the security of the nation that was won in the civil war, by supporting President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election.

7th January – Blockage on Road leading to Polling Center

CMEV received a report of a road blockade impeding accesss to a Polling Center, in Baddegama in the Galle District. The Polling Center, Mabotuwana Nawala Kanishta Vidyalya (Polling Center No 25) is currently not accessible by a vehicle due to the presence large stones left on the road leading to the center by the Vanduramba Pradeshiya Sabha, with the explanation that it is in the process of tarring the road. An alternate route to the Polling Center would take more time. The stones are effectively blocking access by Polling Center Officials and monitors.

7th January – Fake Ballot papers distributed in Arasadithivu, Kokkadicholai, in the Batticaloa District
CMEV received a complaint regarding an incident where supporters of Mr. Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, better known as Karuna Amman, have distributed fake Ballot Papers, where Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s symbol has been changed from a Swan to a Three Wheeler, on the 7th of January.

7th January – Message against Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena circulated via SMS in Kattankudy, Batticaloa

CMEV received a report regarding the circulation of a text message with content going against Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena, being sent and circulated by number 0768385917, in Kattankudy, Batticaloa. According to reports, a text message stating that Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena was Deputy Defense Minister when 50,000 Tamils were killed in 2009, and therefore advising the public not to vote for him, was circulated.

7th January – Bribery at Dehiaththakandiya, Ampara District.

CMEV received a complaint regarding an incident where a relative of Parliamentarian Mrs. Sriyani Wijewickrama was distributing money in exchange for the promise that citizens will vote for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to the complaint, the money was distributed to a number of people at No. 31, Gurugammanaya, Dehiaththakandiya. When CMEV contacted ASP Mr. Chandrapala regarding the incident, he stated that it was a meeting for officials of the Polling Center, and no bribery had taken place.


7th January – A market declared open in Gampala, in the Kandy District

A complaint has been received by CMEV regarding an opening of a public market near the New Road, in Gampala. According to the complaint, Prime Minister Dimu Jayaratne, along with his son, Parliament Minister Anuradha Jayaratne has been present and had declared the market open. During the campaign period CMEV highlighted the use of development projects to carry out election propaganda, and it is an issue of concern that this is continuing even after the campaign period has ended.

7th January – Gathering of information for state assistance in Handapanagala, Wellawaya, Monaragala District

CMEV received a complaint regarding an incident in Handapanagala, Wellawaya , Monaragala District on the 7th of January, 2014 where Mr. Sepala, a Samurdhi Officer had been distributing forms which were issued by the Divi Neguma Department of the Ministry of Economic Development, to Three Wheeler owners of the Handapanagala area. The Samurdhi Officer had reportedly stated that the information was required by the Divi Neguma department of the Ministry of Economic Development, under the Budget of 2015, proposed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, so as to provide life Insurance and a pension scheme for three wheel drivers in the future. CMEV is currently attempting to obtain a copy of the distributed form.

7th January – Kiribath (Milk Rice) Dansala to be held on the 8th of January opposite a Polling Center in Bibile, in the Monaragala District

CMEV received a complaint regarding a Kiribath Dansala which is scheduled to take place on the morning of the Presidential Election, opposite the Badullagammana Vidyalaya (Polling Center No17) in Bibile, a Polling Center in the District of Monaragala. CMEV was informed that the Bibile Pradeshiya Sabha Minister Buddhika Seneviratne, has been the main organiser of this Dansala which is to take place at the Cooperative Society Building, opposite the Polling Center.

7th January – No security at Polling Center in Linganagar, in the Trincomalee District.

CMEV monitor in the Trincomalee District reported that at Konalingam Maha Vidyalay (Polling Center 31) apart from the Senior Presiding Officer and two Junior Presiding Officers, there was no Police or any form of security available for the Polling Center. The CMEV monitor noted a small gathering of unidentified persons within 50 meters of the polling center.

Several major incidents were reported from 6th of January including attacks

6th January – UNP supporter’s business place attacked in Hali Ela, Badulla
CMEV received a complaint with regard to an incident where the business place of a UNP supporter, Mr. Muthubandara was attacked on the 6th of January, at Hali Ela, Badulla. According to the victim, the perpetrators had attacked “Anuradha Hotel” twice. Following the first attack, he had seen the attackers leaving the premises in a white Defender vehicle. The second attack was approximately 30 minutes after the first. The victim had identified the vehicle number plate as WP KB – 6570. The attackers had struck the victim with an iron pole and fired shots. According to Mr. Muthubandara, the perpetrators are supporters of Minister Dilan Perera. He had received treatment at the Ettampitiya Hospital. A complaint was lodged at the Ettampitiya Police station under the complaint number EIB 48/16.


6th January – UNP Supporter’s house attacked in Ettampitiya, Badulla District

CMEV received a complaint regarding an attack on the house of a UNP supporter, Mr. V. Weerasinghe. According to the complaint, the house, which is situated in Ettampitiya, was attacked during the early hours on the 6th of January, damaging the windows, walls and the roof of the house. According to the victim, the suspects are alleged to be employees working under Minister Dilan Perera at the Foreign Employment Bureau. A complaint has been lodged at the Ettampitiya Police.

6th January – Family member of UNP supporter attacked in Mahiyanganya, Moneragala District

A complaint was received by CMEV regarding an incident of threat and intimidation of a UNP supporter, Mr. Janaka Abeyratne, on the 6th of January at approximately 6.00 pm when a mob came in search of him. Mr. Abeyratne alleged that the attackers had been unable to find him but instead found his father, Mr. D.M. Abeyratne. The seniour Mr Abeyratne claims that the mob included UPFA Mahiyangana Lead Organiser and Uva Provincial Council Agricultural Minister Anura Vidanagamage along with Parliament member Mr. Thenuka Vidanagamage and UPFA supporters who had allegedly threatened to kill his son and had struck him in the abdomen with a gun. When speaking to CMEV, the victim stated that he had explained the situation in detail to the OIC of the Mahiyanganaya Police Mr. C.I. Wickremasinghe. However, speaking to CMEV, the OIC stated that the victim had informed the Police that he did not know who the attackers were.  No complaint has been lodged with the Police.

6th January – House of Beliatta UNP Communications Secretary attacked in Beliatta, in the Hambantota District

CMEV received a complaint pertaining to an incident where the house of the Secretary of the Beliatta UNP Communications Department, Mr. S.H. Kamalsiri, was attacked on the 6th of January at approximately 11.45 pm. According to the complaint, shots had been fired and had hit the walls, as well as a three- wheeler, which was parked on the premises. Mr. Kamalsiri had made a phone call to the 119 emergency hotline when the incident took place, to which they responded by advising them to stay indoors until help was sent. The Police had arrived 20 minutes later but had been unable to apprehend or identify the attackers. A complaint was lodged at the Police under the entry number EIB 224/147.

On the 6th of January, UPFA supporters were seen openly holding political meetings in the Batticaloa District, including a meeting held at 4.30pm at the Pentacostal Church located on the Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa Road, where armed military personnel and vehicles were visibly in attendance.

#IVotedSL infographic: How to vote

Voting is an important civic responsibility and one way all of us exercise and enjoy our Sovereignty. This responsibility becomes particularly important during a Presidential Election, because of the immense power vested in this office.

With just a few days more for the 2015 Presidential Election, follow and support #IVotedSL, a trilingual campaign launched by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) to encourage citizens to exercise their right to franchise.

This infographic explains how to cast your vote and what you should avoid doing to have it rejected.

VOTER ED 4_Final

#IVotedSL infographic: Voter turnout in the region

Voting is an important civic responsibility and one way all of us exercise and enjoy our Sovereignty. This responsibility becomes particularly important during a Presidential Election, because of the immense power vested in this office.

With just a few days more for the 2015 Presidential Election, follow and support #IVotedSL, a trilingual campaign launched by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) to encourage citizens to exercise their right to franchise.

Why should you care? For starters, see the vast powers the office of the Executive President commands in Sri Lanka.

Today, we release another infographic.

Voter ed 5_final

Presidential Election 2015: CMEV Interim Campaign Report

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (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 incidents of election related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre. CMEV monitors all national, provincial and local elections.

Through years of experience, and utilising the latest in communications technology, CMEV has established an effective island-wide mechanism to speedily capture election related information and updates in Sri Lanka, and to verify and report these in a professional, unbiased and timely manner, supplying news to a number of media organisations, both local and international. CMEV works to protect and strengthen the integrity of the electoral process and the democratic rights of the peoples of Sri Lanka.

www.cmev.org and its linked social media sites https://www.facebook.com/electionviolence and https://twitter.com/cmev, along with the WhatsApp messaging service (over +94 727772810) provide some of the most up-to-date, impartial and credible information on election violence and malpractice, as and when incidents occur.

Download the full report here.

Offences Breakdown Districts

Presidential Election 2015: Media Communiqué 14

Download this press release as a PDF in English here.

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7th January 2015

Since the completion of campaigning, CMEV received several major incidents involving assault, threat and intimidation, damage to property, and misuse of state resources. All incidents reported to CMEV are instances where opposition party members and supporters were attacked, threatened and property damaged.

CMEV is concerned at the scale of violence less than two days before the commencement of polls. Threat and intimidation and the use of firearms are major incidents that can, if not addressed, create fear among the public and impact voter turnout. CMEV urges that the police take immediate steps to investigate these incidents and to hold to account perpetrators. Quick action in this regard can provide confidence among voters that perpetrators of violence will be held to account and thereby addressing the culture of impunity. It also provides a clear message that violence of any nature is unacceptable during elections in Sri Lanka.

CMEV has also received several instances of continued electioneering by UPFA ministers, members and supporters despite the campaign period ending at midnight on 5 January. In some instances electioneering was done in the guise of providing assistance. CMEV received reports of such incidents from areas in Eppawala, Matale, Matara, Nawalapitiya, Ambalanthota, Kurunegala, Wellawaya, Batticaloa, Raththota, Jaffna, Akkaraipattu and Colombo and raised this issue with the Commissioner of Elections.

Major incidents of post campaign incidents:

6th January – Wife of UNP member beaten by UPFA Mahiyangana Lead Organiser at Mahiyangana, Badulla

CMEV received a complaint regarding an incident where the wife of UNP member Ruwan Arumapperuma was beaten and kicked by UPFA Mahiyangana Lead Organiser and Uva Provincial Council Agricultural Minister Anura Vidanagamage. According to the reports, Minister Vidanagamage himself had gone with UPFA supporters with the plan to confront Mr. Ruwan Arumapperuma of the UNP, but instead met his wife, and had kicked her when she stated that she did not know of her husband’s whereabouts.

Subsequently UPFA supporters had visited Mr. Arumapperuma’s wife and threatened harm to both of them. She was told that her husband had to visit Minister Vidanagamage and apologise for supporting the UNP, and vow to work for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. CMEV is following up on the nature of injuries received. Police investigations presently underway.

6th January – Shooting in Bammanna, Kurunegala damages houses of UNP supporters

CMEV received a complaint regarding a shooting by unidentified persons, which took place on the 6th of January at Bammanna, in the Kurunegala District. According to the complaint, the houses of UNP member Mr. Samantha Padmasiri and supporter Mohamed Ismail Mohamed Distham was shot at after stones were thrown during the early hours on the 6th of January resulting in damage to walls and windows. Both victims have lodged complaints at the Pannala Police station under the entry numbers EIB 105/41 for Mr. Padmasiri and EIB 105/42 for Mr. Mohamed Distham.

6th January – Former Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) members attacked by TMVP supporters in Batticaloa

CMEV received a complaint regarding former TMPV members Mr. Mayura, Mr. Sanjaya and Mr. Palkudi being attacked by current TMPV supporters. According to the complaint, the attack was caused as the three victims had removed posters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. No police complaint was made.

CMEV also notes incidents of threat & intimidation and assault, which occurred on the last day of campaigning:

5th January – UNP member attacked in Chillaw, Puttlam

CMEV received a complaint pertaining to an incident where Mr. Vajira Manoj, a member of the United National Party, was attacked on 5th of January and subsequently hospitalised at the Chillaw Hospital. CMEV was informed by the hospital police that in his statement, Mr. Manoj states that he was attacked by the driver of the UPFA Arachchikattuwa Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, near the Arachchikattuwa market. The perpetrator was identified as Mr. Dinesh Dhammika. Mr. Manoj’s both arms were badly hurt in the incident. The wife of the injured, Mrs. Nirmala, made a statement to the Police under the number 362/69, stating that Dinesh Dhammika had threatened both Mr. Manoj and his wife approximately 2 days before the incident, stating that Mr. Manoj will require a wheelchair if he is to continue supporting the Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena.
5th January – Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) leader Mr. Chandrakanth threatens NDF Office in Valaichchenai, Batticaloa

CMEV received a report where TMVP leader Mr. Chandrakanth, also known as “Pillayan” threatened the people at a NDF office situated at Kalaivani Road, Karuvakkeni, in Valaichchenai, Batticaloa. According to reports, he has also threatened to murder Mr. P. Sulakshan of the NDF. CMEV was informed that Pillayan had with him a pistol at the time of making the threats. Two hours after the threat, Mr. Sulakshan met with Mr. Kaandeepan, a supporter of Pillayan, to inquire why he was being threatened. During this meeting, Mr. Kaandeepan’s mother has assaulted Mr. Sulakshan with a broom, and chased him away from the premises. Subsequently Mr. Sulakshan lodged a complaint at the Police under the entry number CIB 376/66, stating that he was threatened by Pillayan and assaulted by Mr. Kandeepan’s mother. CMEV was informed by Valaichchenai Police that no entry was made by Mr.Sulakshan regarding a murder threat but an entry was made regarding him being struck with a broom by Mr. Kandeepan’s mother. However, Mr. Sulakshan confirmed with CMEV that his complaint to the Valaichchenai Police contained both the murder threat and the assault.

Presidential Election 2015: Media Communiqué 13

Download this PR as a PDF here.

6th January 2015

The Presidential Election campaign ended at midnight with several major incidents reported. At the end of campaigning, CMEV documented a total of 420 incidents, with 237 major incidents and 183 minor incidents. The highest number of major incidents were reported from Jaffna District with 22 incidents followed from Badulla District with 19 incidents, 18 incidents from Kurunegala District and 17 incidents from Kandy District. CMEV noted 26 incidents of fire arm use during this period and 3 separate incidents where petrol bombs were used with two resulting in threat and intimidation of residents. CMEV also noted 132 instances of misuse of state resources for electioneering.

The final day of campaigning commenced with a shooting incident which left one UNP supporter critically injured. There were also incidents of threats and intimidation reported including the intimidation of two human rights defenders in Negombo. The last day of campaigning also witnessed a clash between UPFA and UNP supporters resulting in 3 persons being hospitalised state resources being used by the UPFA for electioneering, and reports of false ballot papers being circulated in parts of Sri Lanka, an issue raised by CMEV with the Commissioner of Elections.

 

Several court orders were issued today to arrest perpetrators of violence and to halt programmes which are biased towards one candidate. CMEV welcomes these court orders and urges the authorities to implement these without delay. It is paramount that officials take all necessary steps to ensure that election laws are respected and the integrity of the electoral process upheld. Furthermore, CMEV raised in communiqué 12 the assault of two election officials in Trincomalee by UPFA supporters and the subsequent role played by a Deputy Minister to release the perpetrators. Such actions must be condemned and authorities must take all steps to uphold law and order and hold perpetrators to account.

5th January – UPFA campaign organiser Mr. Arumugam Chandrakumar knifed in Kopai, Jaffna


CMEV received a complaint that UPFA Organiser Mr. Arumugam Chandrakumar (38 yrs) was knifed by two unknown individuals near the Navalar School in Kopai. Mr. Chandrakumar received knife wounds in the back and arm at approximately 9.20 pm on the 5th of January. According to the OIC of Kopai Police, Mr. I.P. Jayakodi, he was taken immediatelyto Kopai Hospital and subsequently transferred to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital at 10.05 pm for surgery. Hospital staff stated that they will not comment on Mr. Chandrakumar’s status until the surgery is completed. The CMEV Field Monitor is currently on location obtaining further details.

5th January, three injured in shooting in Kahawatta Ratnapura


CMEV received a complaint regarding a shooting that took place in Kahawatta, Ratnapura at about 2 am in the morning on January 5th. United National Party (UNP) supporters, preparing the grounds for a meeting to be addressed by the Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena, were shot at by an unidentified group of people. According to Police OIC L.P.K. Rajamanthri, the three injured persons, D.I.W. Karunadasa Ranasinghe, H. Hussain Dulshan and Shantha Dodangoda received treatment at the Ratnapura Hospital. CMEV was informed that investigations are underway. Ratnapura Hospital Police officials confirmed that Shantha Dodangoda is critically injured (injuries to his chest) and is currently receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit. A police complaint was made by Mr. T.M. Upali, a UNP Pradeshya Sabha member.

The Pelmadulla Magistrates Court issued an arrest warrant for Deputy Minister of Power & Energy, Premalal Jayasekera, Minister Nilantha Jayakodi and Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Vajira Dharshana de Silva.

5th January, Misleading fake ballot papers distributed in several Districts

CMEV received information regarding the distribution of false and misleading ballot papers(a photo of this ballot paper is attached) depicting erroneous symbols for the Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena and the United Socialist Party Candidate Sirithunga Jayasuriya within the Puttalam (Madurankulama and Arachchikattuwa), Kandy (Kundasale and Kandy Town), Batticaloa (Kalkuda) Anuradhapura (Kekirawa, Kalawewa, Anuradhapura West and Horowupothana), Badulla (Haputale), NuwaraEliya (Hatton), Monaragala (Bibile) and Trincomalee Districts. The fake ballot paper depicts a trishaw for Maithripala Sirisena (as opposed to the correct symbol of a swan) and an elephant for Sirithunga Jayasuriya (as opposed to the correct symbol of a trishaw), while the symbols of the remaining candidates including the incumbent president remained error free.

CMEV, via its field monitor, has obtained a copy of the said misleading ballot paper at 1.30pm on the 5th of January from the 96th Junction area in Thissapura, Muttur, Trincomalee District, allegedly distributed by supporters of UPFA Thambalagamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman ChampikaBandara. The CMEV Eastern Province Coordinator subsequently reported the incident to IP Seneviratne, OIC of the Thambalagamuwa Police Station who directed two police officers to the location. A complaint on the incident, bearing the number EIB 71/08 was also subsequently filed by the CMEV monitor.

In Aarachchikattuwa, Halawatha, the said fake ballot papers were distributed on the 4th of January. According to North Western UNP Provincial Councillor Sisira Kumara, the ballots were allegedly distributed by Minister Neomal Perera’s supporter Jude and ten others. They were also distributed at a public street drama performed by UPFA supporters.

CMEV is concerned by these incidents, which are a violation of election laws and are likely to confuse the public during the last few days leading up to polling day. CMEV has also raised the issue with the Commissioner of Elections urging immediate remedial action to ensure that the integrity of the election is not undermined by such actions.

CMEV also welcomes information received of an arrest made in the Hatton area (alleged perpetrator DS Princes, van number 56-4918 as per the Hatton police station) in relation to this unlawful distribution. It commenced on the 31st of December 2014 and has been halted in the Bibile area upon the intervention of the Commissioner of Elections.

5th January – Clash between supporters of UNP and UPFA at Rambukkana, Kegalle


CMEV received a report regarding a clash between supporters of the UNP and UPFA in front of the Rambukkana Train Station. Three persons supporting the UNP were injured as a result of this clash and admitted to the Rambukkana Hospital. Head injuries were sustained by Mr. Priyantha Pradeep and Mr. Sandun Udaya, while Mr. Chanaka Ruwan suffered a neck injury. All three patients were subsequently transferred to the Kegalle Hospital. CMEV was informed by the OIC Kegalle Police, Mr. Bandara Dekandawela and the hospital staff, that none of the injured are in critical condition.

 

4th January, Human Rights activist Brito Fernando and Prasanga Fernando intimidated in Negombo

CMEV received a complaint with regard to an incident which took place in Periyamulla, Negombo on the 4th of January. Human rights activist Mr. Brito Fernando along with his family returning home from an outing on the 4th of January discovered a plastic bag in which a severed head of a dog was hung on his gate. Fellow Right to Life staff member Prasanga Fernando also reported that he was subjected to the same treatment at his home.
CMEV was informed by the police of a complaint filed at the Negombo police number CIB 2/33 on January 5th. The victims believe that the possible reasons for the intimidation could be related to the commemoration of the disappeared, which was organised and carried out by the Right to Life organisation on the 27th of October 2014. Subsequent to this ceremony, posters with the faces of Right to Life staff members and other human rights activists were found all around the city of Negombo. The posters were captioned “Makara Raakshayo Athurudahan Wuuwan Vikunagena Kai.” A police complaint was lodged at the Seeduwa Police related to this. Later that day the house of Brito Fernando was stoned. According to the two victims, the group responsible for this latest incident is also responsible for the posters and the stoning of their houses, which are attempts to intimidate them.

Statement on elections poll falsely attributed to CPA

5 January 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is aware that a poll purportedly done by CPA projecting the results of the Presidential election is being circulated in the mainstream media and online. It first appeared on a Facebook page called “We vote Mahinda Rajapaksha” which is linked to the official website of the incumbent. Furthermore, the edition of the Silumina on Sunday (4thJanuary) claimed that since the poll showed a Mahinda Rajapaksha victory, CPA deliberately suppressed it.

CPA issued a disclaimer in the first instance and wishes to point out that in one instance we are supposed to have published the results of a poll projecting a Mahinda Rajapaksha victory and in another suppressed it!

It is clear that those behind this misinformation are very keen to have CPA validation of their work and objectives.

CPA wishes to state that this is NOT a CPA survey and that the results of any CPA survey have NOT been suppressed on the grounds, as implied, that they are disappointing and not in line with the supposed political objectives of the organization.

The results of CPA surveys can be accessed on the CPA website.