CMEV reports 70 violations of election laws as Sri Lanka goes to the polls
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s election watchdog the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) reported 70 violations of election law, predominantly involving illegal campaigning, across the country between 7000 hours to 1000 hours today.
The watchdog reported 52 cases of illegal campaigning, seven cases of illegal poster cut-outs and five cases of intimidation and a few cases of bribery, health guideline violations, assaults, among others.
The ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) leads the race with 39 violations with the opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) coming in second with 11 violations. The United National Party (UNP), meanwhile, has four complaints of violations against it.
The highest number of violations are reported in Galle (10) and Kegalle (15) districts.
CMEV observers report that small chits promoting candidates and their preference numbers were scattered in most places around the country, particularly near polling stations.
The following is an electoral district-wise breakdown of incidents reported by CMEV.
SLPP candidate C B Ratnayake’s supporters allegedly entered Pannala Maha Vidyalaya Hall 2 in Walpone, Nuwara Eliya in a drunken state at around 8.30AM and acted in a disorderly manner disturbing election officials, according to reports received by CMEV.
CMEV had observed SJB candidate Hameed Mohammed attempting to talk to polling station officials and influence voters to vote for him at the Gallalla Al-Azhar Maha Vidyalaya polling station in Polonnaruwa.
In another incident, SLPP supporters were seen distributing model ballot papers and influencing voters to vote for the SLPP at around 8.10am at the polling station at Thopawewa National School in the Polonnaruwa district.
Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) supporters were reported to be forcing voters to vote for the party in the vicinity of the polling station at Katpahapuram Government Tamil Mixed School Vavuniya in Vanni.
Muslim National Alliance candidate Ali Sabry Raheem supporters have been travelling by car and distributing money to voters headed to the polling station at Rishard Badiudeen Maha Vidyalaya in the Puttalam District.
In Padduka, several voters at Indrarama Viharasthanaya polling station had received calls from one phone number asking them to vote for Podukana Peramuna candidate Thilanga Sumanthipala.
The authorised polling agent for National Congress M A Rasheed was seen sitting the Al Kalam Maha Vidyala Hall 1 Polling Station in Pottuvil, Digamadula District, wearing a face mask branded with a candidate’s preference number
In another incident reported, SLPP supporters allegedly attacked and injured ACMC supprters at Jamaldeen Square, Pottuvil at around 2.30AM today. The victims have been hospitalised.
Meanwhile some 60 All Ceylon Tamil Congress supporters had arrived at ITAK supporter J Kishanthan’s house in Kalmunai, Digamadulla district at 9PM on August 4, assaulted several persons and damaged property. Two persons have been hospitalised.
Voters registered at the Nedunthivu polling station in Kayts, Jaffna district have been waiting at Kurikattuvan for the boat service to travel to the station on the other side since 8AM.
Freshly pasted posters bearing the name and number of SJB candidate Tharaka Nanayakkara were found this morning opposite the polling station at Mabotuwana Thilaka Junior School in Baddegama.
SLPP candidate Mahindananda Aluthgamage supporters were seen verbally influencing voters to vote for the party at around 7.30am near the polling station at St. Mary’s College, Nawalapitiya.
Two supporters of SLPP were reported to be aggressively coaxing voters at the gates of the D A Rajapaksa Maha Vidyalaya in Mulkirigala, influencing them to vote for the SLPP. They were seen accompanying voters into the polling station.
CMEV confirms that three supporters of SJB candidate Rajitha Senaratne had offered money in exchange for voters’ poll cards in Mulliyamale, Beruwala on August 4. They have been arrested by Beruwala Police. (Colombo/Aug5/2020)