By Yohan Perera and Kelum Bandara
Hot on the heels of the announcement of poll results, an election monitoring body, stressed the need to constitute the independent Election Commission.
People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said this election witnessed the abuse of public servants in unprecedented manner for political work and the police service crippled in dealing with election related malpractices.
"Hot on the heels of the announcement of poll results, an election monitoring body, stressed the need to constitute the independent Election Commission."
Therefore, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said an independent Election Commission, should be appointed. However, he said such a commission appointed under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution would not serve the intended purpose.
“We are for a commission as envisaged in the 17th Amendment to the Constitution,” he said.
Meanwhile, Campaign for Free and Free Elections (CaFFE) said the Uva Province was calm but tensed after the conclusion of the Saturday’s Provincial Council election but said a spate of violence in Election Day had created a disturbing trend.
Executive Director CaFFE Keerthi Tennekoon said CaFFE had received 102 election related complaints on September 20, the election day. This is the highest number of election day incidents. “CaFFE has observed in the recent provincial council election cycle, seven elections during two years,” he said. CaFFE has received 21 complaints of election related violence including the use of firearms. These incidents were mainly reported from Bibile, Moneragala, Wellawaya, Bandarawela, Haputale and Wiyaluwa electorates and some of these demonstrated the impotence of the police before regional politicians.
Mr. Tennekoon alleged that there were a number of supporters who had arrived from other parts of the country campaigning for several parties and these groups roamed Uva province in a large number of vehicles in the pre-election period and on the election day.
Accordingly the supporters of UPFA Southern Provincial Minister DV Upul had allegedly attacked the vehicle in which UNP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Harin Fernando’s father was travelling in at Kirindiella, Badulla. Sharp objects were used during the attack and shots were fired. Most of the complaints from Moneragala were lodged against the UPFA, however there were also a few complaints against the UNP and the JVP as well.
However, these complaints only came from UPFA legal advisors deployed at UPFA operation office and these complaints were pre planned and systematic in nature. Mr. Tennekoon said CaFFE will, come out with a report with full details soon.
CaFFE Executive Director therefore held that the election was far from free and fair.