Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Election violence very high in the UPFA: PAFFREL

By Olindhi Jayasundere - In the days leading up to the Southern Provincial Council election, the UPFA has had eight internal conflicts within the party and has had the highest number of complaints made against them in the past several months, the elections monitor PAFFREL said yesterday.

PAFFREL Executive Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi told the Daily Mirror that there were 29 complaints made against the UPFA, four made against the UNP, one made against the JVP and a total of 15 made against all the other parties competing in the election The Executive Director said the highest number of complaints was made in the Hambantota district where 22 complaints were made. However, he said in Galle, where there had been 18 complaints, the level of violence was also quite severe.

“The situation in Galle had been very serious. We had 18 complaints there, out of which four were for assault, three for threats and intimidation, three for damaging party offices, two for misusing government resources and six were made for illegal propaganda,” he said.

Hettiarachchi said that most of the complaints made in the Galle district were against the UPFA by the JVP party.

He said the most amount of hostility between parties took place in Hambantota and Galle. “In Matara the situation has been very stable. There have been only 10 complaints made in the district and things are looking well there,” he said.

The PAFFREL Director said that although several complaints had been made against certain political parties, it was only a few that were acting violently. “There are 1090 candidates taking part in the upcoming Southern Provincial council election, but it was just a mere five or six candidates who were creating chaos. Of these few candidates, several of them are UPFA members,” he said.

Hettiarachchi said the number of cases of hostility within parties had not been as high as those between political parties, but this time there was much significance to the number of internal cases because they had been highlighted due to recent events that had taken place.

“Certain internal party matters such as the incidents involving UPFA candidate Nishantha Muthuhettige that had been highlighted in the public eye would prove to have an adverse effect on other members of the party as well as other political parties,” he said.

Meanwhile, Police Spokesman, Nimal Madiwake told the Daily Mirror that the President had made a firm order for every individual taking part in provincial elections, irrespective of which party they were from, to maintain law and order and to ensure that a free and fair election takes place next month.

© Daily Mirror

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