Sri Lanka Brief
Election Monitoring reports 2015Presidential Election 2015: Trends and Concerns Of Election Violence – CMEV

Presidential Election 2015: Trends and Concerns Of Election Violence – CMEV

  • At the end of campaigning, CMEV documented 420 incidents of violence (20th November 2014 5 January 2015), with 237 categorised as major incidents and 183 as minor incidents. Highest number of major incidents were reported from Jaffna District with 22 incidents followed by Badulla District with 19 incidents, Kurunegala 18 incidents and 17 incidents in the Kandy District.
  • CMEV has recorded 26 incidents involving firearms and 03 incidents of petrol bombings.
  • Targeting of election officials has been a key trend in previous elections and this has continued in the 2015 Presidential election.
  • CMEV monitors were attacked and threatened in two incidents.
  • CMEV recorded 132 incidents of gross misuse of State resources for election purposes. This has been a recurring trend in the campaigns of the incumbent. Although not for the first time, the intensity and degree of misuse of resources during this Presidential election is unparalleled.
  • Excessive use of State media by the incumbent and very limited airtime for opposition candidates. At the same time, given the availability of resources, similar profile in respect of private media.
  • A vast number of incidents of violence and flagrant violation of election laws is attributed to the ruling party where local politicians including local government members are involved. With exceptions in a few key incidents, most perpetrators have operated with impunity.
  • The culture of impunity for flagrant violation of election laws has encouraged continuation of such incidents.
  • A large number of incidents of attacks have targeted opposition party offices and persons connected to said offices.
  • Most suspects arrested for election violence related incidents have been released without following due process. Although CMEV notes a few court orders issued in recent days that provide for police action.
  • Ruling party politicians have been electioneering under the guise of providing relief to floodaffected victims.
  • CMEV documented police officers having attacked persons seeking voting rights. This has resulted in a situa tion where people are unable to complain to the Police. This coupled with the lack of due process with regards to suspects connected with election violence, has resulted in perceptions of Police unwillingness and inability to take action.
  • An increase in a ttacks against human rights defenders and artistes in the last few days of the campaign. Women too have been targeted with a petrol bomb attack against a women’s activist in Kattankudy.
  • Increase of violence and intimidation of voters in the North.
  • The presence of armed forces impacting voter turnout, especially in the North. CMEV has received information of public officials used in campaigning in the lead up to the elections. Several incidents from Jaffna were reported on the last day of campaigns targeti ng both UPFA and opposition actors.
  • CMEV raised concerns with the process involved with postal voting including the application process and the situation created as a result of incremental weather. CMEV has raised concerns in terms of reform in the application process.
  • Two election rallies for the Common Opposition Candidate were attacked with shots fired in Kolonnawa.
  • CMEV has raised concerns as to the situation faced by IDPs and their voting rights in the context of the recent floods and heavy rains in parts of Sri Lanka. This is an issued where CMEV wrote to the EC.
  • CMEV noted several instances where false ballot papers were found in Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara, Monaragala, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Puttalam and Kandy. This too has been raised with the EC in terms of its impact to confuse voters and possibly impact the integrity of the franchise
  • Download the full report here.


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