By Colombo Telegraph
“The president’s campaign had ordered eight GA’s including those in Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa to send election results directly to the president’s house for his review before sending them to the Election Commissioner.” the US ambassador wrote to Washington.
The US ambassador Patricia A. Buttenis and USAID Mission Director met with about ten business representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ampara District and made a separate call on Ampara Government Agent Sunil Kannangara less than a week before the presidential election 2005.
The leaked cable classified as a “CONFIDENTIAL” by the ambassador Patricia A. Buttenis under the title of “ELECTIONS IN AMPARA: INTIMIDATION AND WEAK ALLEGIANSCES”.
“Business representatives reported that Iniya Barathy, Karuna’s second in command and Rajapaksa campaign coordinator, controlled 600 to 700 armed supporters and had created a climate of intimidation that precluded any expression of support for the opposition. On the other hand, support for Rajapaksa appeared weak” Ambassador Patricia further wrote.
Rajapaksa’s chief opinion pollster and close advisor Sunimal Fernando said to the US embassy in less than a week before the election, the President was doing very poorly in the East, mainly due to the corruption issue. Read the Colombo Telegraph story yesterday; http://colombotelegraph.com/2011/10/02/wikileaks-%E2%80%9Crace-is-neck-and-neck%E2%80%9D-rajapaksa%E2%80%99s-chief-pollster-sunimal-fernando/ However Rajapaksa received 67% and Fonseka received 30.45% in Ampara district. See the election results here; http://www.slelections.gov.lk/presidential2010/13A.html
The private lawyer of the Election Commissioner, Elmore Perera challenged the EC Dayananda Dissanayake just after the presidential election (26 January) to appear live on TV and truthfully divulge to the country where, and with whom, Disanayake and his wife were between 3.30 p.m. on 26th January 2010 and 4.45 p.m. on January 27th 2010. Read his challenge here; http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/03/where_and_with_whom_were_you_a.html
Read the full confidential cable below;
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000048 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2020 TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE SUBJECT: ELECTIONS IN AMPARA: INTIMIDATION AND WEAK ALLEGIANCES COLOMBO 00000048 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: AMBASSADOR PATRICIA A. BUTENIS. REASONS: 1.4 (B, D) A VIEW FROM AMPARA DISTRICT ---------------------------- ¶1. (SBU) Ambassador and USAID Mission Director met with about ten business representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Ampara District in eastern Sri Lanka and made a separate call on the Ampara Government Agent (GA), Mr. Sunil Kannangara. Ampara has fewer Tamils than its eastern neighbors Batticaloa and Trincomalee, but its ethnic diversity (41 percent Muslim, 40 percent Sinhalese and 18 percent Tamil, according to the 2005 census) makes it a complex campaign ground. A CLIMATE OF FEAR ----------------- ¶2. (C) Business representatives reported that Iniya Barathy, Karuna's second in command and Rajapaksa campaign coordinator, controlled 600 to 700 armed supporters and had created a climate of intimidation that precluded any expression of support for the opposition. On the other hand, support for Rajapaksa appeared weak, as the promise of Rs 3,000 and dry rations for each attendee at his January 15 meeting lured only 500 villagers. Tamil voters in particular were expected to vote against the president rather than for Fonseka. Business representatives predicted opposition votes from 85 percent of Tamils, 65 to 90 percent of Muslims, and half the Sinhalese. ¶3. (C) Security incidents raised concerns, which the GA was working to control. On January 17, buses returning from an opposition rally were reportedly attacked by motorcycle riders throwing bricks and 30 to 40 boys charging with "swords" as they passed through police checkpoints. The attackers were apparently alerted to the buses' location by cell phone from the buses. On the same day, 25 Fonseka supporters were injured and one shot in the leg, but it was unclear whether this was part of the bus incident. The GA aimed to prevent violence through police action and crowd control. Contacts noted, however, that while the 70 to 80 police in the area were trying to do their jobs, 25 to 27 police had themselves been attacked. The GA planned to prohibit meetings and gatherings from January 23 until one week after elections. ¶4. (C) Approximately 420,000 of 627,000 people in Ampara District were registered to vote, but some expected that fear of violence would keep many voters home on election day. A group of 59,000 "home guards" were expected to "protect" Sinahalese areas. The guards were reportedly headed by Commander Sarath Weerasekera, the local Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) organizer. ELECTION PROCEDURES ------------------- ¶5. (C) As Returns Officer for Ampara District, the GA was responsible for organizing and overseeing the election. He planned 20 coordinating centers throughout the district, with officers poised to investigate fraud allegations. He also was responsible for reviewing reports of complaints and irregularities documented by the senior president of the polling centers, local observers, police and others, and passing them on to the Elections Commissioner. After polls closed, ballots would be taken from polling stations to counting centers. One contact stated that the president's campaign had ordered eight GAs (including those in Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonaruwa and Batticaloa) to send election COLOMBO 00000048 002.2 OF 002 results directly to the president's house for his review before sending them on to the Elections Commissioner. Other potential irregularities included voter identification fraud, stuffing of ballot boxes, and removing ink marks in order to vote multiple times. BUTENIS