Nullify polls, Fonseka tells SC

By Teles Anandappa

An election petition by defeated presidential election candidate General Sarath Fonseka was filed in the Supreme Court. The petition claimed incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected by fraudulent methods and prayed Court declare the election void.

The petitioner cited President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Commissioner of Elections and 24 others as respondents. The petitioner claimed there was general intimidation and several people were obstructed in casting their vote using different methods.

In his petition the petitioner states several state-owned vehicles, including helicopters were used in the campaign of President Rajapaksa. He also said the state media --the Rupavahini Corporation, ITN and state-owned newspapers-- were used in different ways to promote the candidature of President Rajapaksa. He added even when he (petitioner) requested advertising space after making payment his request was refused.

The petitioner said ‘Temple Trees’ was used as a hotel to feed different levels of people --from the elite to three-wheel drivers-- to a free meal using public funds. He stated many public officers and even officers of the police and armed forces were entertained at Temple Trees at public expense
The petitioner said the respondent went to the extent of bribing people by offering them perks for their support at the elections. He said commissioned army officers were openly ordering soldiers to cast their vote for President Rajapaksa.

The petitioner said even after the Elections Commissioner issued several guidelines to be followed by the state media, they blatantly violated his ruling and carried on regardless.

The Elections Commissioner went to the extent of nominating a Competent Authority to monitor the state media, but he was forced to ultimately cancel the appointment as he could not control the media.

He charged state media had made several false statements detrimental to him for several days.
He said several instances of malpractice were carried out by the President before and after the election. He claimed the President was thereby guilty of corrupt practice and therefore the election should be declared void.

The petitioner added there were several incidents of thuggery and threats of intimidation in several electorates. Additionally counting agents of the opposition candidates were chased out of several counting centres.

He pointed out after the elections several of his supporters were attacked and their houses were damaged.

The petitioner called on Court to declare the election of the 1st respondent void and called on Court to issue order for a scrutiny of the ballots cast in the presence of the petitioner.

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