Cause for serious concern: Govt.’s blatant abuse of state resources – UNP

*Will show capability at next round of elections to 45 local councils – John A

by Zacki Jabbar

The ruling party has always won local elections, but the real cause for concern was the abuse of State resources, public servants, intimidation of opposition candidates and bribery resorted to by government candidates, at Saturday’s polls to 65 local councils, the UNP said yesterday.

Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunga told The Island that considering the extent to which election laws were violated and the intimidation of opposition candidates, the government had performed "poorly", especially in the North where it had lost badly to the Illangai Thamil Arasi Kachci.

When told that the UNP’s performance was below par, he said that it was in proportion to the candidates they had fielded.

"Lets wait and see. Polls to 45 more local bodies have to be held, including the big ones such as Colombo and Negombo", Ameratunga said adding that the UNP would show what it was capable of.

Ameratunga, said that during the election campaign, he had personally witnessed the widespread intimidation of UNP candidates by government goon squads and bribing of voters in blatant violation of the laws.

Commenting on the Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya’s threat to resign if the polls were not free and fair, he said that they were empty words and did not mean anything if one were to go by the manner in which Saturday’s election was conducted.

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