Election violence up, but slightly
By N.Dilshath Banu
A slight increase in election related violence has been reported during the last week of the campaign, but the figures were low compared to previous elections, two of the main organisations monitoring the poll said.
“There are three reasons for the reduction of election violence. As this is a Presidential election there are only 13 candidates, unlike in the Parliamentary elections with many candidates and many violent incidents. Next, the President wanted to have a free and fair election and she took the responsibility for security. Finally, the Police Commission has done its duty well,” People's Alliance for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) head Kingsley Rodrigo said.

Five weeks after nomination day, PAFFREL received reports of 92 pre-election incidents, of which assault and threats were the highest with 30 cases. There were 25 cases of displaying posters and 4 cases of trespassing. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) had reported 310 cases of election violence, of which 104 cases were major and 206 minor incidents.
With 78 cases, Western Province had the highest number, while North Western Province was second with 41 cases. Nine cases were reported in the North and the East, which is the least number recorded.

Co-Convenor of CMEV Dr. P.Saravanamuttu said many factors contributed to minimizing pre-election violence. “One reason could be that administrative power granted to independent Commissions like the Police, Judiciary, Public Service and Elections. Another would be lack of interest among party members to intensify their election campaigns” he said.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has appointed a Special Rapporteur to oversee the activities of state officials in relation to the Presidential election. The Commission will entertain complaints against state officials or police officers who neglect or do not act or overstep the duties assigned to them under the election law or any other law relating to the Presidential election. However, a senior investigating officer of the HRC said there was only one case where a police officer had sought guidance from the HRC after an alleged threat.

Top  Back to News  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.