Friday, October 09, 2009

Election Violence Increased by 85%- NEM

Network of Election Monitoring (NEM-IHR) says, by the end of the pre-election process of the Southern PC election, the election violence has been increased to a significantly high level as 85% increase compared to the Uva PC election. They said it in a press conference held today in Colombo. This is the report issued to the media by NEM-IHR
"Violations of election regulations, specially, election violence, abuse of state power, misuse of state properties and resources in the governing party election campaign and illegal propaganda campaigns have been continuously increasing in the pre election process of the Southern PC election.

NEM IHR has received 198 complaints including 76 election violence, 39 cases of misuse of state properties and resources by the ruling UPFA, 10 incidents related to biased conduct of the police, 68 cases related to illegal propaganda and disruption of propaganda campaigns and 5 incidents related to undue influences on the public opinion.

Escalation of election related violence

By the end of the pre-election process of the Southern PC election the election violence has been increased to a significantly high level. NEM IHR has received 76 such complaints and it is a 85% increase compared to the 41 incidents reported in the Uva PC election.

NEM IHR recognizes several main factors for the increase of election violence.
The leaders of the political parties have not taken any practical steps to control the unlawful practices and violent behavior of their candidates and the party supporters. In fact, some party leaders encourage their supporters to such violence.

Intra-party violence has been increased as the main political parties have not named their chief ministerial candidates. Some influential candidates name themselves as chief ministerial candidates and launch all out campaign to ensure a high preferential vote percentage. Such candidate believe that they are empowered to act their own and do not hesitate to obstruct the political campaigns of the other candidate in the same party, resulting escalation of violence.

Use of State properties and resources

Use of state properties and resources for the ruling party election campaign is taking place widely and openly. This happened in all PC elections held recently and reached the highest level at the Uva PC election and now continues in the Southern PC election. The leaders of the ruling party and the candidates openly use sate properties and resources, specially, vehicles violating the election laws, financial and administration regulations of the government. Most of them behave in a manner that they have the right to use the state power and the resources for their election campaign.

Relatives of some ministers who contest for the election are using vehicles, officials and other resources of the relevant ministries. Government officers and various social groups were assembled using state power and facilitated to the ruling party campaign. Large number of SLTB buses has been used to transport the party supporters and the people to UPFA election rallies. Hundreds of SLTB buses from other regions have been deployed causing the collapse of public transport in the area.

As usual the state media is openly use for the ruling UPFA election campaign and malicious attacks on opposition parties and their leaders.

Illegal propaganda campaign

All most all main political parties carry out illegal propaganda campaign by displaying photos of the candidates, preferential numbers and party symbols. Thousands of billboards were displayed all over the Southern province violating election laws. The police and the other authorities have miserably failed to mitigate the situation. Although special orders are not necessary, the state authorities turning blind eye over one month to instruct to remove these illegal propaganda materials.

Biased conduct of the police

NEM-IHR received eight complaints on biased conduct of the police from the inception of the election campaign. Police has failed in preventing election violence, illegal propaganda campaign and removal of such propaganda material. Some complaints received to NEM-IHR say that the police has discriminated opposition political parties by disturbing their lawful propaganda campaign. Also police allegedly released some respondent for violence without taking proper judiciary actions.


NEM-IHR believes that there are many positive measures that have to be still taken to conduct the Southern PC election in free and fail environment ensuring the sovereign rights of the people. Also NEM IHR urges the political parties to intervene to stop unlawful conduct of the candidates and the party supporters.
To mitigate undemocratic practices in the election process the voters too have a responsibility and IHR request the people not to cast their preferential votes for the candidates who are responsible for election violence and election malpractices."

© Lanka Truth

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