Monday, March 29, 2010

Sri Lanka Poll 2010: Election Commissioner’s office in total disarray

By Rathindra Kuruwita - The Postal Voting for the General Election 2010 concluded amidst allegations of malpractice and disfranchisement by the opposition political parties and election monitors. Peoples action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFERAL) claimed that they have received 142 complaints of election law violations including election officials failing to report on time, to provide necessary documents and equipment, ledgers and seals to facilitate postal voting.

“There have been many instances of election law violation which are far worse than the postal voting for the 2010 Presidential Elections. Election law violators have become more brazen,” said Executive Director of PAFFERAL, Rohana Hettiarachchi.

Postal voting

What the two days of postal voting also showed was the unpreparedness and the disorganized state of the opposition parties. In some voting centres there were no party representatives of the opposition claimed Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon. “In many voting centres, especially in the south, Anuradhapura, Matale, Kurunegala and some parts of Ratnapura, there were no representatives from the opposition, specially from the United National Party (UNP) and this shows that the opposition parties are in disarray.

“The fact that the UNP was not able to mobilize the adequate number of polling agents for the postal vote raises questions whether the UNP is able to contribute significantly to the 100 000 strong joint task force by the opposition to prevent election malpractices at the polling and counting centres on April 08th.

“At this rate I don’t think that the UNP will play a big role in the task force, the majority of the human resources will come from the DNA. The DNA is smaller but better organized and more fiery, our grass root structure has suffered terribly in the last few years,” said a UNP district Organizer on condition of anonymity. “I am worried whether we can find the necessary polling agents in some parts of the country.”

Access to Counting Centres

After weeks of tussling between the Election monitors and the Commissioner it was announced that election monitors will be allowed to enter district counting Centres. The elections commissioner’s decision has only made the monitors angrier as they believe that this is an attempt to mislead the public.

“The Election commissioner has allowed the monitors to enter the district counting centre. It’s the place where the district returning officers announce the final result for the entire district. What’s the point in us being there, a place where no real counting takes place?” asked CaFFE spokesman, Keerthi Tennakoon. “We need to be present at all the counting centres to ensure transparency, if monitors are present, organized gangs cannot enter counting centres surreptitiously. The elections commissioner is refusing to accommodate election monitors claiming that there is no space, which is absurd. For example in the Ampara counting centre there will be over 300 people, party representatives and election officials, so how can he say that there is no space for additional three people from PAFFERAL, CaFFE and CMEV?”

© Lakbima News

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

© 2009 - 2014 Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  © Blogger template 'Fly Away' by 2008

Back to TOP