Monday, April 05, 2010

Sri Lanka : Worst intra-party wars ever

As Sri Lankans go to the polls to elect members to the fourteenth parliament on Thursday, April 8, police and election monitors say the battle for preferential votes is turning ugly and for the first time in history, intra- party clashes account for the majority of the incidents of violence.

According to the Police Elections Secretariat, of the 300 incidents of election related violence reported by the end of the week, the majority are related to intra party rivalry over preferential votes, directed by candidates of the ruling UPFA against each other.

“Around 50% of the violence has been directed at UPFA members by others in the same party. We fear that in the coming days violence will increase overall in Nawalapitiya, Matale, Dambulla, Eravur, Kantale, Gampaha, Kurunegala and Hambanthota. Since the police are not doing anything to apprehend election law violators, there is a culture of impunity,” the spokesman for the Campaign for Free and Fair Election, Keerthi Tennakone told Lakbimanews.

Thirty five thousand elections monitors would be deployed by ten election monitoring bodies. There will be no foreign monitors.

In addition, a massive security contingent of 78, 2000 would be deployed on polling day and its aftermath. This includes 58,700 police personnel and 19,500 military personnel, head of the police election secretariat senior DIG Gamini Navaratna said. He further said police would deploy the Special Task Force in areas prone to violence. Accordingly, the STF would be deployed in Gampaha, Matale, Kurunegala and Anuradhapura, an election department official said.

Seven thousand six hundred and twenty candidates will contest for 225 seats in parliament, including 29 national list slots.

© Lakbima News

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