Several opposition parties and government ally the Ceylon Workers’ Congress had discussions with Democratic People’s Front (DPF) leader Mano Ganesan after the party was denied a national list slot by the UNF.
Mr. Ganesan told Daily Mirror yesterday that DNA General Secretary Vijitha Herath, DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera and CWC leader Arumugan Thondaman had called him and discussed the situation facing his party. Asked about the possibility of his party joining any other he said he does not know what decisions will be reached in the future. “I don’t know whether I will join anyone as I have other options as well,” he said.
Meanwhile President Mahinda Rajapaksa too had phoned Mr. Ganesan last morning and expressed solidarity with him. However, Mr. Ganesan told the media that there was no politics in this as leaders of opposition parties had also had discussions with him. (Read More)
Defeated UNFcandidate Mano Ganeshan yesterday accused UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of having deprived him of a National List seat in violation of a pre-poll understanding between them.
In a brief interview with The Island, an irate Ganeshan called Wickremesinghe a treacherous opportunist, who had turned his back on the Democratic People’s Front, which was at the forefront of an anti-government campaign.
The former Colombo District MP said that the UNP had wanted him to contest from the Kandy District to boost the morale of Tamil voters there.
The UNP secured nine National List seats. Party sources told The Island that none of the losers had been accommodated through the National List, though many felt that Vajira Abeywardena and Sagala Ratnayake should be considered for National List slots because they had failed at the April 8 election. Defeated canrdidate, A.J. M. Muzammil, too, made a desperate attempt to secure a National List slot. (Read More)
The national list nominations to Parliament of the ruling UPFA, the main opposition UNP, the JVP led Democratic National Alliance and the TNA were announced yesterday which included a number of new faces while leaving out several prominent personalities.
From the UNP the omission of the names of party‚Äôs Assistant leader Rukman Senanayake and longstanding MP and constitutional lawyer K.N. Choksy came as a surprise.¬ Former Minister Tilak Marapone too had failed to make it to parliament from the UNP national list.
From the UPFA national list the surprise omissions were former Speaker W.J.M.Lokubandara and former Higher Education Minister Prof. Wishwa Warnapala.¬ ¬ Some of the other notable names that have been left out from the final UPFA National List are: M.H.Mohammed, Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha thera, Anurudha Ratawatte, Lesley Devendra, C. Shanmuganathan, Dr. Harischandra Wijetunga and Presidential Candidate Sarath Kongahage. (Read More)
No acts of violence have been reported to CaFFE from the Nawalapitiya, Kandy and Kumburupiddi, Trincomalee election re poll areas. Hence CaFFE would like to firstly declare that the election activities in re polling areas were conducted peacefully during this election. In addition to this the protection of election laws which had been disregarded earlier was a visibly key characteristic during this pre election period. However, CaFFE notes that while there were no reports of physical violence in the areas in which re polling took place, there was definitely indications of psychological intimidation of voters.
A huge contingent of police and STF security officers had been deployed in Nawalapitiya area. For this reason there were hardly any reports regarding the presence of sinister political gangs or intimidation in the area. However, CaFFE monitors did observe that some political party supporters could be seen travelling around the area in unmarked vehicles with no registration numbers and gathering around election polling centres.The picture on the left was taken by mobile CaFFE observers who were overtaken by a unregistered vehicles which had no national plates.
CaFFE also received a report of intimidation from the Bercapel Estate Government School Polling Centre in the Westhall, Nawalapititya area. Mr. R. Ronganadan, a UPFA election polling agent had been threatened by an individual who had been identified as a underworld personality with the nickname “Kalaweidda”. CaFFE observers noted that this same individual had been identified during the earlier annulled poll in this area threatening and intimidating polling agents.
CaFFE observers noted that the Nawalapitiya Urban Council Double Cab vehicle which had been used by a gang who had illegally seized polling cards from voters during the previous annulled election in the Anurudhdha College Polling Centre was parked in the vicinity of the same area today, during the re poll. This vehicle had been parked in a by lane by the Polling Centre and when CaFFE observers started to arrive in the area in numbers the vehicle and the group that had come in the vehicle left the area. However, CaFFE observers were able to take photographic evidence that this vehicle, which had been used in election malpractices before had been parked in the same area as shown below. (Read more)
UNF parliamentary candidate and leader of the Democratic People’s Front Mano Ganesan’s vehicle convoy came under attack this evening in Kadilhena, Nawalapitiya.
“We were traveling with police protection and that didn’t stop these attackers, we have identified them to be thugs of a former minister. I ask the President to intervene and discipline his politicians,” Ganesan said. His convoy of five vehicles was traveling with a police vehicle when it came under attack and thereafter his supporters were forced to fend for themselves and drive out the attackers, he said.
This comes a day after his supporters were attacked in Nawalapitiya. He said most of the plantation communities were fearful of casting their vote in this escalating climate of violence even during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
A Court yesterday ordered Democratic National Alliance (DNA) activists including Vijitha Herath, Sunil Handunnetti, Arjuna Ranatunga, Lakshman Nipunaarachchi and detained General Sarath Fonseka’s wife Anoma to make a statement to the Fort police.
Fort police officers told Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne that the DNA had violated election laws by holding a public meeting opposite the Fort Railway Station 48 hours before Thursday’s general election to call for the immediate release of General Fonseka from detention.
Police said the public meeting had obstructed the movement of people at the Fort railway station on April 6 and that the DNA had committed an offence under section 70 of the Parliament Election Act No 1 of 1981 and moved Court to issue notice on them. Further inquiry was postponed for April 23.
Tension prevailed in Nawalapitiya yesterday as candidates were planning to resume the election campaign for the re-poll fixed for April 20.
Security was tightened in the area with several police teams including Special Force Task personnel being deployed to maintain law and order.
UPFA candidate and former Minister D.M. Jayaratne said the candidates would begin their campaign soon, probably after the National New Year.
He said candidates should not be obstructed from carrying out their normal election campaigning.
UNP candidate Mano Ganesan said they had already started house to house campaigning despite obstructions from their opponents. Several supporters of Mr. Ganesan and of his colleague Lakshman Kiriella were attacked during the pre election period. (Read More)
The commencement of voting last Thursday was almost like seeing a speck of light at the end of a long dark tunnel — for more than signalling the election of new parliamentarians, it meant that the many weeks of campaigning by over-zealous politicians from every political party had come to an end. The citizens of this country would finally receive a long needed respite from election campaigning and propaganda.
And yet even at the last minute, more resourceful campaigners managed to find a loophole in the rather obsolete laws that dictate the elections — in the past week the public were besieged by text messages from various politicians begging for the people to vote for them. Although this may seem like another violation of the election laws, it interestingly is not for a rather strange reason.
“Sending text messages to the public is technically not a violation as the election laws make no provision for it. The reason for this being the fact that the election laws were last amended almost two decades ago at which time of course text messaging as a form of election campaigning did not even exist”, explained election monitor and CaFFE Spokesman Keerthi Tennekoon. “The newly elected parliamentarians should look into updating the election laws as they really are obsolete”. (Read More)
Election monitor and CAFFE Spokesperson Keerthi Tennakoon said the opposition has a key role in ensuring a high voter turn out at elections and this time around; it had failed in this task.
“The opposition campaign was lackadaisical and lackluster reducing enthusiasm among the people. We did not see the opposition playing its role. Given this scenario, there was no way to expect a high voter turn out,” he said.
Tennakoon also observed that the people’s loss of faith in the ballot had also played a role demotivating people to cast their votes.
Basil Rajapaksa told The Sunday Leader that the Opposition Leader should not resort to various gimmicks like changing party symbols or presenting various new faces to come to power. “They need to do politics to win the hearts and minds of the people,” he said. (Read More)