|General elections violence
Disturbing factor was how the two major parties organised themselves - PAFFREL
He said that a disturbing factor was how the two major parties organised themselves for violence.
"There is a major break down in our system" because instead of resorting to the due process of law political parties have taken the law into their own hands. He said that at the general election in year 2000 there were 51 killings but 35 of them were caused by the LTTE and only 16 were caused by confrontations between political parties. However in this years election 51 deaths have been caused due to conflicts between political parties.
He further pointed out that the attacks were organised with the participation of underworld thugs, deserters and soldiers on leave, all of whom have access to sophisticated arms.
According to observations made by PAFFREL in 4%-5% of the polling stations conditions inside were not conducive to a free and fair election while in 4%-8% of the booths the conditions both inside and outside were very bad.
"Election are often decided on margins of 4% or less". Therefore the 4% could have altered the ultimate result of the election and cannot be dismissed, he said.
Executive Director of PAFFREL, Kingsley Rodrigo, said that despite prior warnings the president who held the portfolio of Minister of Defence, the Commissioner of Elections and the police who were the relevant authorities, failed to take necessary action on election day to prevent violence in areas which recorded a high incidence of violence prior to the election. PAFFREL/MFFE observers have reported large scale election related violence and malpractices especially in Patha Dumbara, Nawalapitiya and Gampola.
About 80,000 voters in Batticaloa and Vavuniya were prevented from voting due to the closure of military check points on election day. In the Jaffna peninsular impersonations by the EPDP, TNA and UNP resulted in 15,000 extra votes.
He said the Elections Commissioners decision to annul election result in centres where there was a high incidence of violence was questionable from the point of view of the voters right. The Commissioner of Elections has the statutory right to do so but is it democratic ? he questioned.
"During the last election we asked the party that was in power not to grant cabinet portfolios to members who practice violence, but everybody knows what happened. Even in this government those who practised violence prior to the elections have been given cabinet portfolios", he said.
During the post election period upto December 15, 11 election related deaths and 311 incidents of violence have been reported to PAFFREL.
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