Friday, March 4, 2011

Polls Dept. violating election laws - CaFFE

Polls Dept. violating election laws - CaFFE

The Department of Elections itself manipulates election laws, alleges the Campaign for a Free and Fair Election (CAFFE).
"While the laws prohibit putting up banners and posters, the Commissioner of Elections has given permission to carry out poster campaigns," Executive Director of CAFFE Keerthi Tennakoon said.

He said that even the Police Department had so far not taken measures to remove illegal banners and cutouts while illegal propaganda activities, related to the distribution of polling cards, had not ceased.

Incidents - Pre-election Period
From Jan 27, 2011 to Mar 04, 2011
Assaults (Property ) As @ March 1st18
Assaults (to individuals)41
Election law violations93
Misuse of state Property17
Unconfirmed incidents related to the election32

Courts have ordered the postponement of elections only in 17 local government institutions. However, the Commissioner of Elections has postponed elections to 67 institutions altogether, which is not permitted under the provisions of law. "The Commissioner of Elections has acted in violation of the basic features of democracy," Tennakoon alleged.

Responding to a query, he said that the violations of election laws and election related violence have reached unbelievable heights.

"The CAFFE has received 197 reports on election related violence so far and most of them were inter party violence," Tennakoon said. Most complaints had been received from Gampaha, Galle, Kalutara, Anuradhapura and Akkaraipattu.

Among the complaints there are at least five incidents related to shooting, Tennakoon said.