Monday, March 22, 2010

Election violence on increase in Sri Lanka

Over 100 incidents of violence related to the April 8 parliamentary election having been recorded since the parliament was dissolved in February, election monitoring groups said on Monday.

"We have recorded 159 incidents up to yesterday (Sunday)," D. M. Dissanayake, the coordinator of the Center For Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said.

The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) said 127 incidents have been recorded.

Both monitors agreed that Central Province had been the most violent province followed by North Western Province.

"Most of these violence are directed at candidates of the same party," Dissanayake said.

Candidates of the same party are involved in expensive propaganda campaigns in order to win preference votes.

According to Sri Lanka's election system, the candidate with highest number of preference votes gets elected to parliament.

These individual campaigns give rise to violence as fellow candidates' material are either defaced or destroyed.

Activists face physical assaults too.

The police said some 65 people have already been arrested in connection with election related violence.

Election officials said 7,620 candidates are running for the parliament's 225 seats elected for a six-year term.

© Xinhua

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