By S.S. Selvanayagam
Former Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka filed an election petition at the Supreme Court this morning seeking a determination from the Court that the election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the recent Presidential election was void.
In the petition filed through his lawyers General Sarath Fonseka, who is now under detention, cited the President and 20 others as well as the Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka.
He is asking the Court to order a scrutiny of all the ballots cast at the said election held on January 26, to be carried out by Commissioner of Elections and his staff in his presence and in the presence of other 21 candidates or their authorized representatives.
He cited Mahinda Rajapaksa and other 21 candidates including Sarath Kongahage and Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake as well as two senior lawyers namely President’s Counsel Razik Zarook and kalinga Indatissa besides Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe and Wimal Weerawansa as Respondents.
Razik Zarook, Kalinga Indatissa, Hudson Samarasinghe and Wimal Weerawansa have, according to the Petition, been cited as parties as they have allegedly committed the corrupt practices as agents of the Candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sarath Kongahage has, the Petition claims, already been made a party hereto and has committed the corrupt practices as an agent of the candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Petitioner stated that the election of Mahinda Rajapaksa to the office of the President is void and/or undue on any one or more of the reasons of the occurrence of the incidents and the commission of the acts, there was general intimidation, general treating, general bribery, misconduct and other circumstances, non-compliance with the provisions of the Presidential Act, corrupt practices, by reason of which the majority of voters were or may have been prevented from electing the candidate whom they preferred, namely Fonseka.
Petitioner alleged that there was general bribery committed in connection with the election of Mahinda Rajapaksa or with his knowledge or consent or by his agents. These acts of bribery took place between November 23, 2009 and January 26, 2010(date of election).
Petitioner complained that there were other misconducts or other circumstances which occurred during the above said period. These incidents were also contrary to the Guidelines issued by the Commissioner of Elections dated December 8, 2009 and consisted of the use of State resources towards promoting of the candidature of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Petitioner Fonseka complaining of false statements in relation to his personal character stated that 1st Respondent Mahinda Rajapaksa, during the last few days of the election campaign, falsely and presented a fake document purporting to be an alleged agreement between him and the Tamil National Alliance which would lead to the division of Sri Lanka in the event of Fonseka being elected President.
He also stated that Sarath Kongahage, Hudson Samarasinghe and Wimal Weerawansa as agents of Mahinda Rajapaksa during the last few days of the election campaign, falsely alleged and presented a fake document purporting to be an alleged agreement between him and the Tamil National Alliance to the same effect.
He complained that commencing approximately at 1.00 p.m. on the day of Election of January 26, Sarath Kongahage, Razik Zarook, Kalinga Indatissa, Hudson Samarasinghe and Wimal Weerawansa made false statements, that the Petitioner Sarath Fonseka was not qualified to be elected as the President, and that even if he was elected as President, he will be disqualified from holding such office. These false statements were broadcast without break until the close of poll at 4.00 p.m. by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Lakhanda and the Independent Television Network (ITN), he alleged.
He claimed that these false statements were made and broadcast with the knowledge and consent of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
He said there were instances of non-compliance with the provisions of the Presidential Act and that threatening and chasing away by UPFA thugs of counting agents of all candidates and the failure of the election officers and police and security forces personnel to prevent this and thereafter election officers continuing with the count in the absence of the said counting agents.
Petitioner pleads that by reasons of the separate and/or cumulative effect of the facts and circumstances set out in the Petition, the majority of electors were or many have been prevented from electing the candidate whom they preferred, namely Fonseka and that the said election was not free and fair and that the 1st Respondent Mahinda Rajapaksa is guilty of the corrupt practice of treating, bribery and making false statements.
He claims that by reason of the separate and/or cumulative effect, the election of the 1st Respondent Mahinda Rajapaksa is void and/or undue, and the Petitioner (Fonseka) ought to have been returned.