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Monday, July 22, 2024

Northern Elections falls short of meeting International Standards -CaFFE Report

 Elections in the Northern Peninsula did not meet the international standards due to certain disturbing malpractices and intimidations that took place in the Killinochchi District. The dominant presence of the military and the lack of civil administration did not aid the transparency and accountability of the first post-war local authority election.
During the election day CaFFE reported 73 incidents of Election Violence and Election Law Violations, out of which 32 incidents relate to Election Law Violations, 20 Intimidations, 12 Illegal Election Propaganda activities, including one Election related Murder.

The killing of UPFA supporter, Anura Wijeybandara in “Madhyama Nuwaragam Palatha” Pradeshiya Sabha in the Anuradhapura District reportedly in a intra-party clash confirms the omni-present nature of political violence in this country.
Intra party tensions were also highlighted as a re-current issue at this election.

The forceful collection of polling cards, physical violence and intimidations in the District of Killinochchi was the most disturbing factor in this second stage of the Local Authority Elections concluded today. People were forced to exchange their polling cards for money and some of the people who refused to exchange their polling cards were threatened and assaulted. Many incidence of this nature have been reported from nearly 20 villages in Karachchi and Pachchilapallai Areas.

The lack of public transport facilities for the voters in the Killinochchi District had a direct correlation to the low voter turn out in the entire district. There was simply no facilities whatsoever to aid disabled persons who came to vote in numbers in the northern peninsula.
The enthusiasm amongst the female voters in the north was considerably high.

The free distribution of dry rations and food parcels to residents of newly re-settled areas by certain groups on the election day was observed with gentle coersions directed in the path of asking the people to vote for a particular party in lieu of receiving the goods.

TNA supporters were accused of making death threats to a manager of an agricultural farm in watakachchi damaging the vehicle owned by the manager.

In the Jaffna District, incidence of Threats were reported from Nawalladi in Point Pedro.
One Polling Agent was chased away from the polling booth in Killinochchi.

Post Election violence has been reported in Karachchi, Killinochchi District, where a TNA supporter has been assualted in an inter-party clash with EPDP supporters. The disconcerting violations of democratic principles were observed in almost all parts of the Killinochchi District, except in some parts of the Poonekary Area.

In the Southern part of the country, the elections were relatively peaceful except in Wilgamuwa, Agalawatta, Thalawekele, and Homagama. Lack of polling agents from the opposition parties; the UNP and the JVP, in the southern region was also observed except in a few places. Illegal propaganda activities is the most notable disturbing factor in the Southern region.

Although it was a well calculated psychological operation to create a fear psychosis amongst the voters, during the pre-election time, the election day in Jaffna was relatively peaceful except some intimidations and threatening incidents which that took place in Kayts, Point Pedro, and Velvetithurai.

CaFFE is of the view that the Northern Elections falls short of meeting internationally accepted standards, and the biggest challenge in the post war era is to establish full civil administration in the Northern Peninsula.

Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon
Executive Director/CaFFE


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