28 October, 2020

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PC Elections: The ‘Ugly’ Rises Again

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

When the first provincial council elections were held on April 28, 1988 hundreds were killed.  The JVP in its Deshapremi Janatha Vyaparaya avatar decreed that the first to cast his or her vote in each and every polling station was ‘fair target’.  Emerging from the fires that engulfed the country and its youth towards the end of the eighties and clothed with a democratic new-look, the JVP, in time, actually contested the PC elections.  That’s another story, however.

The worst PC election in remembered history is ‘Wayamba 1999’ held during the Chandrika Kumaratunga presidency. For the thuggery unleashed on opponent and voter, voter impersonation, intimidation of election officials etc., Wayamba ’99 is second only to the elections held during the UNP-JVP bheeshanaya and the 1982 Referendum.

The 17th Amendment of 2001 which yielded an independent Elections Commission and an independent Police Commission cured many but not all the ills of ‘democracy’ with respect to elections and election campaigns.  If one played ‘Relative Merits’ then Sri Lanka has come a long way from 1982, 1988-89 and 1999, but that is a dangerous game which in effect can only stifle processes of further democratization, especially since the 18th Amendment did away with the 17th and all the checks and balances therein.

One day before the election, TNA’s Jaffna District candidate Ananthi Sasitharan’s house in Ariyalai came under attack.  The lady alleges that there is a concerted move to eliminate ‘witnesses to what happened during the last days of the war’.  Since she is the wife of former LTTE political commissar for Trincomalee District Sasitharan alias Ezhilan, detractors including victims of LTTE terrorism and their loved ones can and will say that what she suffered was ‘mild’ and not amounting to ‘just deserts’.  But a terrorist’s wife is not necessarily a terrorist.  She has done nothing illegal.  Association will mark her no doubt, but association does not imply culpability.  Her candidacy is as legitimate as that of anyone else.

As observed by election watchdog PAFFREL, although there is no evidence that the Army or Police was involved in the attack, the large presence of personnel from these entities naturally raises suspicion of involvement.  PAFFREL also points out that if police officers or soldiers were not involved it means that armed gangs intent on unleashing violence are roaming around the district with impunity. This amounts to tacit support for such acts from the Government.

As disturbing is the printing of a dummy version of the popular peninsula newspaper ‘Uthayan’ clearly aiming for confusion by claiming the TNA called for a boycott of the election (no prizes for guessing who would benefit from such an eventuality).  It is a mischievous move and an illegal one that thumbs the nose at the democratic process and its spirit.  A poster with the TNA’s Chief Ministerial hopeful C.V. Wigneswaran with a ‘wrong’ preferential number (probably by a rival candidate of the same party) is another instance of mischief-making; not the first and probably not the last but one which indicates that as a whole Sri Lanka is yet to mature as a democracy.

Wayamba 2013 is nothing like Wayamba 2009 of course, but the shameless ‘gifting’ that marked the campaign, especially by a minister’s son raises many questions such as ‘Where did the bucks come from?’

Overall, though, things are less black than they have been in the eighties and nineties, although those who want to will not hesitate to take the black spots of this election and offer a totally blackened canvass for the consumption and follow-up action by people and countries wanting regime-change at whatever cost, including loss of lives.  For this, the Government can only blame itself, though, especially since it has the greatest swaying power given resources, ability to bend or break rules at little or no cost and its history of abusing state resources.  It has not helped that those opposed to the Governments have not exactly been angels, as is evidenced as much by intra-party violence as irresponsible and inflammatory manifestos and campaign rhetoric, but the onus is always on power-wielders rather than power-aspirants.

If we haven’t as a nation slipped back to 1999, 1988-89 and 1992, then it is not due to the Government but a vigilant and politically mature voter, honest efforts from honest elements within organizations such as PAFFREL (whatever their faults may be), dedicated election officials and courageous media personnel.  The law, sadly, is not on the side of clean elections.

Therefore, if we are to get better, it is imperative that the institutional arrangement be revisited and reformed.

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Latest comments

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    now we see the LTTE emigre propaganda and the TNA at work.. Suddenly every violation is blamed on the ARmy.. How very convenient.. Every violation is headlined with a Army uniform.. Thus creating the false narrative to get the Army totally out of the North.. Effective But pure propaganda.. Just like that lady who claimed her house was assaulted by the Army, EPDP and UPFa all together at 12:50 AM in Jaffna.. what they all line up and introduce themselves before assaulting her in the Pitch Dark of the Jaffna Night????? And What were her supporters doing at her Place at that time???? So who benefited from this action.. Surely sympathy would take away votes form the EPDP and the UPFA.. so are we to say these two parties are Fools when it comes to politics??? And the army was thrown in as good measure to the INT LTTE emigres can do their propaganda work.. Now we all know there are many mnay election violation in every part of this nation and Jaffna is not the sole place where the Army is present as well.. But Today surely but slowly we get to see the methods of the So called Peace loving TNA and LTTE emigre Tamil and their propaganda methods.

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      PC Elections: The ‘Ugly’ writes Again!

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        Peoples’ verdict is ‘ugly’ to this villain.

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          The implied twisted meaning of the title

          “PC Elections: The ‘Ugly’ Rises Again”

          is the message; the body text is chaff.

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      NEVER Take the army out of the North !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Rajapaka’s the President (Maveeran) went to the North to campaign for his party Mainly Tamils in the North.. Tell me which Sinhala Leader has done that since Sir John???? Not even JR bothered during the DDC.. And loosing support form His Nationalist elements in the coalition for even letting the elections go-ahead. Hey LTTE Int Emigres Reality with facts are different form properganda

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      Dum

      “Rajapaka’s the President (Maveeran) went to the North to campaign for his party Mainly Tamils in the North.”

      Didn’t the other Sinhala/Buddhist maveeran Fonseka go to Jaffna to campaign against your Sinhala/Buddhists Maveeran MR during presidential elections?

      You are dumbing down Fonseka’s valour.

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      DUMB,

      And that is why he and his party lost so badly.

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        But let me tell Some of these fools here who are Quick to criticise the Government especially MR.. Most people knew the TNA will win and given the History the UNP will come in a second in the North .. But MR is the First Sinhala ELECTED Leader since Sir John who travelled to the North to campaign for his party.. who are Tamils.. Not even JR did this during the DDC.. and All the Nationalist elements in his Government Threatened to work out if MR went ahead with the Elections.. But he Did.. which no other Sinhala ELECTED leader would have done. Are u now traying to deny this??? And what of the total defeat of the UNP which traditionally polls well in the North???? pls refer to the results.. The same UNP which would have won in 2005 if the elections were not Forcefully boycotted by the ITAK

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      Dum Dum;

      Now You can Make Dum Dum,
      because Your MAHAWEERAN , So called Elected Presdente, went to North And try to elect rapist DOgiya.

      SO YOU ALL WIN WIN WIN WIN.

      Ane Yako, What Shame For Us Sinhalese Done /Doing By these Malbaris from Hamba Thota.

    • 0
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      Dum Dum;

      Aney P K.

      Oh Sorry typing Mistake.

      ANEY K P.

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      Oh he had to! If he did not how could they have carried out the impulsive psycho-military operation to canvass, convince (rightly or wrongly), scare, confuse and intimidate the masses in the North to obtain at least the little votes they did scramble up?

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    Malinda Seneviratne concludes,

    “Therefore, if we are to get better, it is imperative that the institutional arrangement be revisited and reformed.”

    Those who didn’t come to the same conclusion years ago please raise their hands.

    Here is something that we all knew many moons ago except Malinda.

    This must be his Eureka moment.

    Congratulation for inventing fire, wheel, zero, …………

    Jimmy, Hela, NAK, Cyril,………. you too can do it. If Malinda can, you can.

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      Tx NV.

      It all depends on what he meant by ***we***

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      NV

      Are you inviting us to discuss institutional reform in a democracy with loinclothed men wielding bows and arrows?? How does it work in the warige?

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        Hela

        “Are you inviting us to discuss institutional reform in a democracy with loinclothed men wielding bows and arrows??”

        I am not inviting you to discuss institutional reform in a democracy but telling you to listen to wise people.

        My elders tell me that the imperial British were forced to discuss India’s imminent independence and future constitutional arrangements with a loin clothed half naked fakir. He was only wielding a stick to help his arduous long marches.

        “How does it work in the warige?”

        Find out from my elders.

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    Rajapaksa the President (Maveeran) went to the North to campaign for his party Mainly Tamils in the North.. Tell me which Sinhala Leader has done that since Sir John???? Not even JR bothered during the DDC.. And loosing support form His Nationalist elements in the coalition for even letting the elections go-ahead. Hey LTTE Int Emigres Reality with facts are different form properganda

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      Dum

      Here is bad news for you:

      Nallur Polling Division

      Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi 23,733 88.64 %

      United People’s Freedom Alliance 2,651 9.90 %

      Total Valid Votes 26,774 94.20 %
      Rejected Votes 1,650 5.80 %
      Total Votes Polled 28,424* 66.93 %
      Registered Electors 42,466

      Jaffna Polling Division

      Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi 16,421 86.14 %
      United People’s Freedom Alliance 2,416 12.67 %

      Total Valid Votes 19,063 93.89 %
      Rejected Votes 1,240 6.11 %
      Total Votes Polled 20,303 70.96 %
      Registered Electors 28,610*

      Kayts Polling Division

      Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi 8,917 67.42 %
      United People’s Freedom Alliance 4,164 31.48 %

      Total Valid Votes 13,227 90.57 %
      Rejected Votes 1,377 9.43 %
      Total Votes Polled 14,604 67.77 %
      Registered Electors 21,548*

      Kilinochchi Polling Division

      Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi 36,323 81.55 %
      United People’s Freedom Alliance 7,737 17.37 %

      Total Valid Votes 44,540 90.41 %
      Rejected Votes 4,725 9.59 %
      Total Votes Polled 49,265 71.81 %
      Registered Electors 68,600*

      Mullaitivu Polling Division

      Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi 27,620 78.49 %
      United People’s Freedom Alliance 7,063 20.07 %

      Total Valid Votes 35,187 92.59 %
      Rejected Votes 2,815 7.41 %
      Total Votes Polled 38,002 70.79 %
      Registered Electors 53,683*

      Rejoice, rejoice while it last.

      When is the Sri Lankan army starting its reeducation camps for the Tamils who voted for Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi. Don’ forget to rehabilitate them.

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        @ Native V

        But let me tell Some of these fools here who are Quick to criticise the Government especially MR.. Most people knew the TNA will win and given the History the UNP will come in a second in the North .. But MR is the First Sinhala ELECTED Leader since Sir John who travelled to the North to campaign for his party.. who are Tamils.. Not even JR did this during the DDC.. and All the Nationalist elements in his Government Threatened to work out if MR went ahead with the Elections.. But he Did.. which no other Sinhala ELECTED leader would have done. Are u now traying to deny this??? And what of the total defeat of the UNP which traditionally polls well in the North???? pls refer to the results.. The same UNP which would have won in 2005 if the elections were not Forcefully boycotted by the TNA…

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          DUM

          “MR is the First Sinhala ELECTED Leader since Sir John who travelled to the North to campaign for his party.”

          You have narrowed down your definition of Sinhala elected leader to praise MR.

          Dudley visited the North when he was the Prime minister in the sixties.

          JR as the opposition leader addressed the North just before 1977 election.

          There were precedents before.

          ” And what of the total defeat of the UNP which traditionally polls well in the North????”

          Its a good question. Let the election heat die down, analyst do the number crunching. It is way too early to come to any conclusion about the election results.

          Keep in touch in this forum.

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    Darth Insidious’ Guide to Insidiousness 101:
    When confronted with obvious government election violations, do not attempt to deny it but compare it with a worse event to make it worse. Let us say there was a genocide of 50,000 people – promptly say it is not as bad as Hitler’s annihilation of 6 million.

    The whole aim of this article is to attempt to diminish the severity of the offences committed by the Government by comparing it to worse incidents.

    Note also the insidious attempt at saying that Vigneshwaran’s poster has been changed by somebody from within the TNA. Anyone following the government strategy in the Northern Province would have seen how keen the the Govt has been desparate to discredit Vigneshwaran. (And what’s with the inverted commas for the word wrong?)

    The reference to Ananthi’s husband is again another attempt at giving an excuse without giving one. The idea of Darth Insidious is to get the message across that she deserves it, but pay lip service to non-violence.

    Why cant he just take the govt to task for the obvious violations? Ask the hard questions man. Why was there shooting by the Army at a TNA candidate? What action is the govt going to take against the Army personnel involved in the attack on Ananthi? If they are not Army soldiers, should not an inquiry be held into the inability of the “world’s greatest army” to prevent people with weapons running amok in a place where there is one soldier for every 5 adults?

    Well it is Darth Insidious, what can you expect?

    S

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    “The self-preservation policy of President Rajapakse and his government obviously runs contrary, to his rhetoric of Reconciliation. If you want the Sinhalese and Tamils to reconcile, there has to be first and foremost, a frank dialogue between the two groups. But if, official strategy is to prevent that, by ghettoising the North and censoring media throughout the country, reconciliation will only remain in words, not deeds.
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/in-memory-of-lasantha-media-and-the-self-preservation-policy-of-rajapaksa/

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    The election in the North is not one between the TNA vs the UPFA/EPDP nexus but an election between the Tamil populations people power on one side and the RajaPassa state terrorists using armed forces and EPDP thugs on the other side.
    And even with all this intimidation a little while ago the entire Mullaitivu district was won by the TNA getting 28,000 plus votes and securing 4 seats while the UPFA/ EPDP state terrorists only managed 7000 plus votes securing just one seat.

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    As long as free and fair elections cannot be conducted,sri lanka is on par with so called banana republics.
    If this president cannot control the army so that flawless elections can be conducted,he should resign his post.
    But no president in sri lanka ever resigns.
    The world has seen this farcical election.
    Now the CHOGM is due and the whitewashers have to get their act together to fool the UN and the CHOGM attendees.
    GLPeris must be writing his next speech.

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    Tamil racists have again won the election in the north. LTTE to its credit kept all this nonsense at bay.

    The government must resurrect the LTTE again to disrupt the north. Otherwise it will become a separate country BUT Tamils will live in every district unless something is done about it as Hon SWRDB and JR were able to.

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      The issue is whether MR should tender his resignation as a sportsman. Otherwise let him accept that Federalism is the answer which will lead the country to harmony and prosperity.

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    Asian Tribune says the attack on Ananthi’s house appears to be a staged attack. I do not think EPDP or the UPFA or the Army would have done it just a couple of days before the election because they would have very well known that it would help her amass sympathy votes for Ananthi. Remember, LTTE in their heydays used to kill Tamils and unleash propaganda to make it look like the work of SL soldiers or SL military intelligence.

    Ananthi is the face of LTTE and she was being backed by all the pro-LTTE elements. The alleged attack had the desired effect. US embassy was quick to come out with a media release and BBC Tamil Service gave great publicity to this story (incidentally BBC’s Vavuniya correspondent Manikavasagar with his TNA biased reports was doing yeoman service to TNA).

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      Naga,

      You quote from that KT Rajasingham trash called Asian Tribune, and want people to take you seriously? And you talked earlier about Justice W losing your respect, as if your opinion mattered to anyone.

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        Asian Tribune is an arm of the SL govt. just as Daily News is.

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    After this drubbing it has recieved in the north the govt should realise why the people are supporting TNA. Mainly the negative and overbearing attitude of the Military administration.

    Freedom and Human rights are for real and cannot be subdued by military might. The war for the hearts and minds of the Tamil people cannot be won by pointing guns at their heads and stealing their lands.

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    It must feel like 1977 Eelam election to Tamils. The euphoria is understandable isn’t it really? The party that gloried seperatism wins. People demands it obviously. There must have been some uncertantly in TNA camp engineering attacks on themselves towards the end. Well, let the clash begin I suppose.

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    The ‘ugly’ will rise in the South as well, if the GOSL doesnt mend its practices. As Malinda says the govt has to ‘revisit and reform’.

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    The ” Ugly Writer” express his ugly thoughts in an ugly manner…

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    ok. ok. the ugly thing in election…

    It happennped in Wayamba in 1999.
    in 1982 Referendum.

    So it is justifiable to happen again..

    Are’nt we sick and tired of hearing examples taken from 90’s 60’s 40’s to justify any screw up politicians do. -:(

    Milinda can’t hide his shopping bag when he goes shopping. -:)

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    Your writing is too UGLY my friend.
    You have no choice other than clinging to MR & his clan, don’t you?

    God save this country.

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      Majority (Buddhists and Hindus) by far in this country do not ask the ‘One God’ you believe in to save them.

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        I am no muslim

        “Majority (Buddhists and Hindus) by far in this country do not ask the ‘One God’ you believe in to save them.”

        Time and again Sinhala/Buddhists and Tamil/Saivaites invent new gods and then put all their trust in one god namely MR and VP.

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          Tamils invoke for themselves the black goddess Kali the bloody doomsday naked goddess, with a lolly tongue, a girdle of human arms, and a necklace of decapitated heads while the Sinhalese invoke Kiriamma & the Devileda Mango Pattini for they see Buddah’s teachings unfit to favour them.

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        I am no muslim,

        Don’t insult your own religion / Philosophy (Buddhism is not a religion) my friend. Do you know what is stand in Hinduism for GOD? try to read your own scriptures and understand it my friend.

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