21 October, 2017

Northern Provincial Council Election 2013: Mullaitivu District Situation Report By CMEV

20th September 2013

Summary:

There is widespread disillusionment with the election process, which may lead to low voter turnout. Unacceptably long distances to polling center’s will deter others, since even where buses are being provided these services will be minimal and are not free. The Election Commissioner’s Office is doing its best under difficult circumstances but is handicapped by an outdated system in need of reform, compounded by inadequate funds. Yet, the systematic misuse of state resources, notably of the Ministry of Economic Development, to benefit pro-government candidates, and the deliberate violation of election law through combining development activities with election campaigning have irreparably  flawed the democratic process in Mullaitivu District. Military interference in the electoral process is mostly indirect, though incidents of coercion to attend meetings of UPFA candidates have been reported.

Description:

The general view of voters is that this election has no real meaning in the present context because (a) their basic needs of livelihoods, land and freedom from fear and control have not been met, and (b) the Northern Provincial Council will have no autonomy, with “the Chief Minister serving as a messenger of the Governor, who in turn is the messenger of the President.”

A campaign of deliberate disinformation has been carried out by vested interests to convince rural voters that (a) voting against the Government will only result in cessation of all development activities because funds will not be released by the central government, (b) the Government (and military) will be able to find out which party and candidate each person voted for, and there will be serious consequences as a result, and (c) the (Supreme) Court has ruled that the TNA will be disqualified so all votes for them will be worthless. On the positive side, the Election Commissioner’s Office has conducted voter education workshops in each of the 136 villages, and has reassured voters. However, Minister Basil Rajapaksha’s most recent statements that development initiatives will be jeopardised if the TNA wins has further fuelled voters’ fears.

Transportation to and from polling centres is a serious issue for many voters in the district. At least 3500 voters will have to travel over 5km to reach their respective polling centres. The furthest distance is from Amaithipuram, where voters live 24km away from the Puthvedduvan School where they are expected to cast their ballots. The Elections Commissioner’s Office has arranged for a single bus each for 10 of the worst-affected areas, but voters will have to pay the bus fare. Others may have to walk up to 4km each way in the blazing to participate in a process in which they have little faith.

The lack of identity cards is a concern for some voters. CMEV has been reliably informed that a significant percentage of the approximately 500 voters in Kuravil in the Pudukudiyirippu DS Division may not have valid IDs. In addition, some recent returnees who have only their Manik Farm identity cards will not be able to vote. Also, since the 2012 list is being used, a significant number of current residents whose names are only on the 2013 list will not be eligible. In Pudukudiriyippu DSD alone it is estimated that around 1000 persons have lost their voting rights as a result.

The systematic misuse of state resources and direct violation of election law to benefit UPFA candidates are as serious as to mar the electoral process irrevocably. The Ministry of Economic Development is the main culprit. UPFA candidates who are former senior employees of the ministry serving at Deputy Project Director level have access to Ministry vehicles and staff for campaign work. 172 Samurdhi Development Officers were hired in the district in violation of election law, and their role in the current context is clear. In addition, 150 CPRs hired under the Re-Awakening Project, it is widely alleged, actively support the UPFA campaign at the village level.

The location of the meeting was in the Helambawewa Army Camp

Maheweli Authority and NHDA banners are being taken down by government staff.

The plaque unveiled on 18 Sep 2013.

A blatant example of such abuse is the handing over of 110 (or 500, the number varies depending on the government source!) houses by the Hon Minister of Economic Development to residents of Helambawewa on 18 Sept 2013. While the Mahaweli Authority, the NHDA and other government departments were involved, and the event itself was staged adjoining the Helambawewa Army Camp with full military (and MI) presence, the stage was decked in blue with blue flags everywhere. Villagers were provided with lunch packets after the meeting which clearly took on political tones and referred explicitly to the NPC elections. CMEV spoke to two separate groups of women going home with their lunch packets, and their common response [in Sinhala] was “We are coming from the Betel Leaf meeting.” One woman added, “They want us to vote for them, and we will, but now we have to walk a long way back home.”

Military and Police support of UPFA candidates was blatant. In Mullaitivu town the main UPFA candidates’ office is next to the Mullaitivu SP’s Office, and they are allowed to keep large cut outs, posters and banners on the road even after all campaigning has stopped. Police is deployed at UPFA rallies and tamashas, such as the musical show sponsored by UPFA candidate Satheesh Kumar in Pudukudiriyippu on 18 Sep 2013. Other parties too violated the end-of-campaign regulation, for instance the Muslim Congress held a meeting at Mulliyawalai on 19 Sep 2013.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress meeting held at Mulliyawalai on 19 Sep 2013

However, the overall picture of the Mullaitivu District is one in which the UPFA candidates are free to violate any and every regulation with impunity. On 19 Sep 2013, CMEV observed UPFA candidate No 6 campaigning in Mullaitivu town itself.

The blatant display of UPFA posters and cut-outs even on 20 Sep 2013, adjacent to the Mullaitivu SP Janaka Gunathilaka’s office in the heart of the town.

The military’s involvement is generally less direct, but their control is pervasive. CMEV spoke to a group of women who complained that the Army at Thanneeroottu had asked them to attend a rally organised by UPFA candidate Satheesh Kumar, saying that they will be given loans. Many had gone even by three-wheeler and come away disappointed. Fear of repercussions prevent people from even commenting on the military, but it is agreed that, in relation to the election, the situation is better than in Jaffna.

A poster for UPFA candidate 6, a former Deputy Project Director of the Ministry of Economic Development, adorns the 591 Brigade welcome board in an area that boasts of 24 hour police and military presence.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Thank you CMEV and CT for this report.

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    The RajaPoxsas and all their henchman and attack dogs will one day pay for their sins.
    Nothing lasts forever and bigger despots have fallen.

  • 0
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    We see clear picture? It is not only in Mullaitivu,in all parts of Northern Province. Is anybody bothers about it. Some bloody educated guys, progressive people and leftists are busy finding way to relate all this to TNA Manifesto, separation and Eelam. After democracy is dead where are we going to go? For some, ambassdor posts, minister posts, for the rest…………………………?????????????????????????????

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    Yes, many thanks. The threat made by the regime that development assistance would be withdrawn if the poor voter does not vote for the regime is a violation of the principle of FREE and FAIR elections and Basil Rajapassa who has turned Divineguam poverty alleviation into a political patronage circus needs to be tried and sentenced for breaking the election law along with the Samurdhi workers.

    The CHAIN OF COMMAND in the abuse of state property at election times that renders elections useless needs to be stopped and the culture of impunity of the Rajapassa regime at elections must be stopped. Candidates who win after violating election law should not be appointed until there is a trial and they are punished.

  • 0
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    “More than 200 Sri Lankan military personnel besieged the residence of Ananthi Sasistharan, the only woman candidate of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in Jaffna district in the forthcoming provincial council elections. Initial reports from Araali said that those who were present at the residence were brutally attacked by the occupying SL military that rounded up the house around 00:45 a.m. Friday. At least three, including Attorney-at-Law Subas, who is the Jaffna coordinator of independent election monitoring group, CaFFE, were attacked by the SL military and were struggling to get to the hospital as the tyres of the vehicles were punctured by the soldiers. Ms Ananthi narrowly escaped from the assault as her supporters had managed to send her away over the wall of the residence as the military rounded up her residence.”

    http://www.seithy.com/breifNews.php?newsID=93280&category=EnglishNews&language=english

    http://www.tamilwin.com/show-RUmryJRUMXmu0.html

  • 0
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    It seems that the government and its unscrupulous henchmen are successfully paving the way for another conflict – which probably might result in their achieving Elam – by unnecessarily antagonizing the Tamil people.

  • 0
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    It does not matter where the elections are held the Rajafoxes will tip the scale using everything they got. Drug dealers, Military, accused pimps and murders, state assets and funds.
    They got to do this otherwise part of the family could end up in jail for war crimes and cold blooded murders.

    • 0
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      Thank you Mr.Alistair Burt ( British MP just a JOKE)for casting your vote and adding credence to the accusations of vote rigging which is endemic under Paksas.

      They are masters at
      Killing
      Looting
      Lying
      Rigging
      Bribing

      all of which comes natturally to them no wonder Sihala Lnka is in a perilous state.
      But thank God we are free at last.

  • 0
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    CMEV must also monitor the transport and counting of ballots – especially in the “islands electorate” comprising Kayts and other islands – which are held in the total grip of the navy on behalf of the EPDP.
    These areas cannot be visited by parties other than UPFA with safety – a party of activists of TNA who recently visited Delft was brutally attacked.
    Devanada obtains a seat at every election by complete control of this “captive” electorate.
    In jaffna,there are bound to be attempts to distort ballot totals during counting.
    It is reported that about 70 persons have been brought to jaffna to “learn the counting process” – most probably to subvert the counting process in favour of UPFA.

  • 0
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    Nothing different.tamils expected this scenario.More to be unleashed soon in a few hours and after the elections.

  • 0
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    These speculative reports need to be published after seeing the election results under analysis.

    CMEV has got its cart before the horse.

  • 0
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    It is commendable that Colombo Telegraph accesses and publishes accounts such as those of CMEV and associated photographs for all to see and read.

    It would serve democratic interests well, if the relevant public authority (ie department of elections) provides a response outlining its version of events and circumstances and what actions they might have taken to remedy any wrong, together with outcomes to-date.

  • 0
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    In a few hours we will know how the elections went- with or without violence.
    People say TNA will win hands down.The peoples voices will be heard.
    On the hand I hate to read any violence leashed by the army and UPFA on the civilians.
    We must hope that we should not hear of violence.
    Is this too much to hope.

  • 0
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    Thank you, CMEV for this exposure. Will the foreign observers and diplomats please take note?

    Sengodan. M

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    Who will be Victorious At Northern Province the Election of 21
    September 2013 Created — 1 October 1833
    Provincial council 14 November 1987
    Capital Jaffna—argest City —- Vavuniya
    Districts –List[hide] Jaffna– Kilinochchi– Mannar–Mullaitivu–Vavuniya
    The up coming election which is going to be held in Northern
    Provincethe on 21 September 2013. Who is the next winng party in
    Northern Province. popular according to the solar fire
    williaks system. on that day the sunrises rises at about 6.00 clock a.m. an depending on that with an experiments
    the political Party.who comes from Northern Province
    political party. ascendent is Aries. Planetary Positions at
    Sun:06 22′ in Libra-Moon:13° 36′ in Virgo-Saturn:07 36 in Libra
    Mercury:29° 18′ in LibraVenus:15° 34 in Scorpio-Pluto:23° 22′ in Libra
    Nomination and first election campaign date also effect to the win of the each Northern Province
    Mars:15° 23 in LeoJupiter:11° 18 in Libra
    Neptune:22° 13′ in Sagittarius
    ascendent. The election date United People’s Freedom Alliance –TNA party
    and United National party.TNA partyPower.Planet aquries . The luckey number 08
    at their Aries assessments and
    Sun more power full. The election day according to the elevation of
    Latitude and Magnitude sign the well get more vote and be ask the
    next Northern Province the Election of TNA party
    in Northern Province elected Sure.TNA party will wine
    — –2013 –. sure and definity
    ASTROLOGER ——-. K. SUNIL OPTHELLE- Galboda – Waturugama – T.P .0332278121 -SRI LANKA
    (K. Sunil Opathella—Master of Astrology)

  • 0
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    This is shocking.
    Recently the Racist Moron Chandrasri said in a Statement that they are toling to develop the North. This is farcical if people are struggling to get to the Polling Booth due to lack of transport facilities.

    This tells us a few things.

    1) This is a deliberate attempt to prevent Tamils from casting their votes.
    2) Any Sinhalse who is eligible to vote will be provided transport so that the Government doesnt loose face.
    3) This helps the GOSL to rig the votes where ever they can as printing of ballot papers to rig the election started as soon as they announced the elections.
    4) It also helps the GOSL to balance the books when rigged votes are counted.
    5) Lack of European monitors adds to the problem as any Indian and African can be bought to turn a blind eye and give a clean bill of health.

    SHOCKING INDEED.

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