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Home > Tamils - a Nation without a State > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Democracy, Sri Lanka Style > Election related Violence, General Elections October 2000 - Report by Centre by  Monitoring Election Violence, 14 October 2000

 Democracy Continues, Sri Lanka Style...

Election Related Violence - General Elections 2000
Report by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence
14 October 2000

CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition Against Political Violence as an independent and non- partisan organisation to monitor the incidence of election-related violence

"...It is CMEVís considered assessment that taken as a whole the 2000 General Election was significantly marred by violence and election-related violations. In addition, the ongoing offensive in the Jaffna peninsula, as well as the de facto deprivation of voting rights to approximately 250,000 Tamil voters in so-called uncleared areas in the North-East Province has resulted in the election being a fraud in this province. In the rest of the country, 35 of CMEVís monitors and observers were threatened and intimidated by supporters of the Peopleís Alliance. The incidents reported on election day include 07 murders, which brings the total number of deaths during the election period to 73..."


The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has concluded its analysis of the violence and violations that took place throughout the country on election day, October 10, 2000. CMEV stands by its preliminary report submitted to the Elections Commissioner in which the appeal was made to annul the poll in 17 electoral divisions comprising 1081 polling centres, since the nature and extent of violence in these electoral divisions was such as to irrevocably mar the outcome of the poll.

TABLE I

Summary by District

ELECTORAL DISTRICT [Number of Incidents of Violence During Campaign]

NO OF POLLING CENTRES

NO OF POLLING CENTRES VISITED

NO OF POLLING CENTRES SERIOUSLY FLAWED

NO OF REGD. VOTERS

NO OF VOTES POLLED (%)

NO OF VOTES POLLED IN FLAWED CENTRES

MAJORITY & VICTORIOUS PARTY

Colombo [122]

777

728

53

1,385,547

1,036,471 (74.81%)

70,686

48,576 (UNP)

  Comments: Relatively calm on election day, but pre-election violence was among the highest in the country. Moratuwa polling division recorded the most incidents on election day. In Colombo West #4, at close proximity to Temple Trees, a UNP candidate was blatantly intimidated and abused by a group of 20 well-built men in full view of Police.

Kalutara [81]

503

312

--

697,656

570,250 (81.74%)

--

37,960 (PA)

Comments: Free and fair on election day. Some post-election violence recorded.

Gampaha [177]

850

412

58

1,253,416

999,099 (79.71%)

73,504

91,690 (PA)

Comments: Attanagalla 120 Votes Stuffed, According to EC

Kandy [139]

619

404

182

794,453

646,676
(79.59%)

189,415

38,659 (PA)

  Senkadagala Votes Stuffed 247, Yatinuwara Votes Stuffed 251, Galagedera Centres Annulled 01, Galagedera Votes Stuffed 424, Nawalapitiya Votes Stuffed 350, Patha Dumbara Cís Annulled 04, Patha Dumbara Votes Stuffed 2506,  Harisspattuwa Cís Annulled 03, Harispattuwa Votes Stuffed 917, Kundasale Votes Stuffed 228, Udunuwara Votes Stuffed 307, Gampola Cís Annulled 01, Gampola Votes Stuffed 56, Hewaheta Cís Annulled 02, Hewaheta Votes Stuffed 1477, Udu Dumbara Cís Annulled 02, Udu Dumbara Votes Stuffed 159 - TOTAL ANNULLED 13 (16606?) VOTES STUFFED 6922

Matale [61]

226

156

33

292,652

233,816 (79.90%)

33,462

18,377 (PA)

  Comments: Centres Annulled 01 Votes Stuffed 564

Nuwara Eliya [82]

371

204

59

403,406

335,955 (82.87%)

41,286

31,532 (PA)

  Comments: Hanguranketa Centres Annulled 03, Hanguranketa Votes Stuffed 148, NíEliya Centres Annulled 01

Kurunegala
[173]

819

552

50

1,007,394

796,378 (79.05%)

55,336

26,171 (PA)

  Comments: Votes Stuffed 154 

Puttalam [128]

361

216

50

431,869

301,739 (73.15%)

41,159

20,181 (PA)

Comments: Votes Stuffed 510

Anuradhapura
[110]

396

288

70

472,651

353,490 (74.78%)

86,399 (24.4%)

24,979 (PA)

Comments: Votes Stuffed 249

Polonnaruwa [85]

218

98

12

294,846

187,940 (81.91%)

19,550 (10.4%)

3,035 (UNP)

Galle [50]

529

429

09

678,507

566,407
(83.5%)

7,839

52,546 (PA)

  Comments: Relatively free and fair on election day

Hambantota [61]

357

262

22

360,026

283,083 (78.6%)

17,545

8,766 (UNP)

  Beliatta Centres Annulled 01, Beliatta Votes Stuffed 202+

Matara [79]

410

266

06

524,651

406,978 (77.6%)

8,951

56,835 (PA)

  Comments: Votes Stuffed 64, District relatively free and fair on election day

Badulla [145]

463

349

35

475,578

389,203 (81.83%)

31,016

13,179 (UNP)

  Comments: Votes Stuffed 75

Moneragala [114]

259

138

13

237,935

197,519 (83.01%)

11,719

15,504 (PA)

Ratnapura [46]

528

272

30

609,655

500,817 (91.85%)

31,204

35,401 (PA)

  Comments: Centres Annulled 02, Votes Stuffed 43

Kegalle [105]

445

255

51

545,238

434,140 (79.62%)

49,837

25,487 (PA)

  Comments: Centres Annulled 01, Votes Stuffed 203

Jaffna [16]

435

199

33

623,869

132,733 (21.33%)

17,444

8,819 (EPDP)

  Comments: Ongoing offensive added to concerns regarding viability of election. Kayts polling division remains a problem area.

Wanni [24]

179

56

07

213,115

89,797 (42.14%)

5,086

5,868 (TELO)

  Comments: In Mullaitivu (and Kilinochchi in Jaffna District) the poll is a sham.

Batticaloa [12]

269

143

17

275,485

197,646 (71.74%)

17,982

802 (TULF)


Trincomalee [47]

219

171

--

206,885

141,772 (68.53%)

--

7,160 (PA)

Digamadulla [117]

314

234

02

352,537

283,321 (80.37%)

2,112

34,795 (PA)

  Comments:   Marred by serious pre-election violence.

TOTAL [2036]

9,946

5,203

578

12,073,263

9,128,823
(75.61%)

791,480

423,131 (PA)

CENTRES ANNULLED 22 , VOTES STUFFED 9,274

CMEV wrote to the Election Commissioner that the nature and extent of violations have been so widespread and serious in the following electorates as to render the final outcome in these areas utterly meaningless. In addition, the level and degree of violence in these areas during the campaign period too was higher than in other parts of the country, CMEV, therefore, urged the Commissioner of Elections, by virtue of the powers vested in him by Sections 48 A, 128 and 129, of the Parliamentary Elections Act No 1 of 1981 to annul the voting in these electoral divisions, in order to restore credibility to the electoral process in other regions of the country.

 

PROVINCE

DISTRICT

ELECTORAL DIVISION

1) North Western Puttalam Anamaduwa
2) North Western Kurunegala Wariyapola
3) North Central Anuradhapura Kalawewa
4) Western Gampaha Katana
5) Western Gampaha Ja-ela
6) Central Kandy Gampola
7) Central Kandy Nawalapitiya
8) Central Kandy Patha Dumbara
9) Central Kandy Galagedera
10) Central Kandy Harispattuwa
11) Central Kandy Udu Dumbara
12) Central Nuwara Eliya Hanguranketa
13) Uva Badulla Mahiyangana
14) Sabaragamuwa Kegalle Rambukkana
15) Southern Hambantota Beliatta
16) North-East Jaffna Kayts
17) North-East Batticaloa Batticaloa

Though these areas were the most violent, election-rigging was not confined to these areas. CMEV received reports of serious election violations, including instances of murder, bombing, stuffing of ballot boxes, removal of ballot boxes, systematic impersonation and ballot rigging, threats and intimidation of both polling agents and voters, and the use of firearms including automatic weapons, as well as the misuse of state resources including military vehicles and personnel, from 578 polling centres in 101 electorates [Please see final line of Table I above]. This constitutes approximately 6% of all polling centres in the country, and is 11% of the 5203 centres monitored by CMEV in all 22 districts.

The Table summarises CMEVís monitoring exercise throughout the country. The leftmost column indicates both the name of the electoral district as well as the total number of pre-election incidents reported from the area. In the rightmost column are CMEVís assessments together with a record of the Election Commissionerís annulments/vote removals. In considering this information, it is clear that at the very least the Kandy District needs to be re-polled if any semblance of faith in the democratic process is to be maintained. For instance, the Table demonstrates that the majority of the winning party in the Kandy District is one-fifth of the votes cast in the 182 flawed polling centres CMEV monitored in the district.

It is CMEVís considered assessment that taken as a whole the 2000 General Election was significantly marred by violence and election-related violations. In addition, the ongoing offensive in the Jaffna peninsula, as well as the de facto deprivation of voting rights to approximately 250,000 Tamil voters in so-called uncleared areas in the North-East Province has resulted in the election being a fraud in this province. In the rest of the country, 35 of CMEVís monitors and observers were threatened and intimidated by supporters of the Peopleís Alliance.

The incidents reported on election day include 07 murders, which brings the total number of deaths during the election period to 73. It is important to note that CMEVís analysis of individual polling centres is based on an assessment of events during the entire polling period, and generally involves a series of incidents. CMEVís election day assessment is based on an evaluation of polling centres and not on the number of incidents recorded, since the effects of these incidents need to be measured in terms of the degree to which they permitted an unfettered exercise of the public franchise.

CMEV is gravely concerned that the Elections Commissioner saw fit to annul only 22 polling centres in 6 districts Ė 13 in the Kandy District, 01 in Matale, 04 in Nuwara Eliya, 01 in Hambantota, 02 in Balangoda, and 01 in Kegalle Ė while he discounted 9,274 votes forcibly stuffed in another 47 polling centres but did not annul these polling centres. In some cases his decision appears to have no rational basis at all. For instance, regarding polling centre number 20 in the Beliatta polling division where one ballot box was forcibly removed from the centre, his decision has been to discount this incident and count the ballots cast in the remaining ballot box! Not only is this a gross travesty of the rights of those legitimate voters whose ballots happened to be in the missing box, it is also explicitly counter to the provisions of 48 A (3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No 1 of 1981.

In polling centre number 30 in the Hanguranketa polling division, the Elections Commissioner records that 01 (one) ballot was forcibly stuffed, while in Laggala in the Matale District in polling centre number 48, exactly 542 ballots were forcibly stuffed, and in Patha Dumbara in centre number 42 this number was 650. He treats this entire range, from 01 to 650, the same way Ė removing the offending ballots and counting the rest as if nothing untoward had happened.

CMEVís position is that this course of action is not merely unjust by the hundreds of ordinary voters who were deterred, even prevented, from casting their votes in these areas, it is also not provided for in the Parliamentary Elections Act. CMEV reiterates that the proper and least unfair procedure would have been to annul these polling centres where forcible stuffing was established, as provided for under section 48 A (2), since the stuffing would have eaten into the time available to the voters, thereby breaking the provision for continued access to the polling centre between 7.00 am and 4.00 pm on election day.

In addition, the Commissionerís decision to annul 42 polling centres in the Kilinochchi polling division and, subsequently, also 49 in the Mullaitivu polling division appears unacceptable at this stage. CMEV has been at pains to emphasise to the Commissioner as well as election officials in the Jaffna District that special arrangements need to be made to accommodate voters living in LTTE-controlled areas, and we have met him on two occasions to explain to him the unsatisfactory nature of the arrangements made by his staff in this regard.

As regards Kilinochchi, the 42 polling centres in the so-called uncleared areas were nominally recorded as clustered at Jaffna Hindu College, but CMEV understands that they were not in fact operational. Similarly, the 49 polling centres in Mullaitivu were to be clustered in Vavuniya, the only polling centre deemed valid was No 31 which served the Sinhala population of Weli Oya. Hence, for the Commissioner to annul polling centres that he did not have on the ground is unacceptable, particularly since the total number of registered voters in the annulled polling centres of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu are approximately 56,000 and 52,000 respectively, even a fraction of whose votes would clearly alter the result in these areas. In the Jaffna District, for instance, approximately each 10,500 votes delivered a single member of parliament to each of four parties.

Moreover, the concrete process by which these stuffed ballots are eliminated from the counting remains unclear to CMEV, since this would require a serial count of the votes first, which the Elections Commissioner has refused to guarantee to Court (in application number 1041/2000) when requested to do a physical verification of the serial numbers of the ballot papers that have been stuffed into the boxes by issuing an order on the counting officers. CMEV is concerned with the lack of transparency and openness in the decision-making process with regard to determining the course of action to be taken concerning serious violations at polling centres, and in the inaccessibility to information relating to these decisions thereafter.

CMEV wishes to record its surprise and disappointment at the reports submitted by the Observer Missions of the EU and the British-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group, and will be taking this issue up with the relevant authorities.


Dr. P. Saravanamuttu
CMEV

Bandula Padmakumara
CMEV

Dr. Arjuna Parakrama
CMEV

 

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