UNP accuses ruling party of breach of East election rules

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 April 2008, 13:55 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian, Laxman Kiriyella, charged that the paramilitary Pillayan group, Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) and Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) that are jointly contesting Eastern Province Provincial (EPC) elections with the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), for carrying arms besides other violations during the campaign for the forthcoming Easter Provincial Council (EPC) election, UNP sources said.

Laxman Kiriyella further accused Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the police of indirect support to the UPFA candidates and the paramilitary groups associated with the ruling party.

Meanwhile, UNP General Secretary and parliamentarians, Tissa Athanayake, Jayalath Jayawardne and Ravi Karunanayake requested the Election Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake, to take action against the breach of election regulations committed by the said parties.

Masked armed men abducted six supporters of United National Party (UNP) in Padiththanai area in Trincomalee recently in the pre-election period of the forthcoming EPC election, UNP sources said.

The relatives of the abductees, however, refrained from complaining to the police as they knew who the abductors were, and it is said that efforts are being made by both parties to obtain the release of abductees in an amicable manner.

Similar abductions have taken place also in Akkaraipattu area, and this is a clear case to prove that just and fair elections will not take place in the Eastern Province, Laxman Kiriyella pointed out.

Akkaraipattu Regional Council (Pretheshya Saba) President uses Ma’nmunai Almas College for election purposes while the upstairs of the Post Office in Ea’raavoor in Batticaloa is being used by UPFA candidate Hisbulla, he said.

Government ministers are using all the Circuit Bungalows of the Port Development Board and government vehicles are used for election activities, scenes of which were broadcast on Rupavahini National TV, Laxman Kiriyella added.

Village Officers (Grama Niladaris) are pressured to participate in election campaign for the ruling party, he accused.

More over, the police have confiscated 10,000 poling cards from women on 23 April and certain persons have threatened Abdul Majeed, the UNP Pretheshya Saba member on 26 April not to engage in election campaign.

Laxman Kiriyella further said that the related authorities are yet to release the true figures of those displaced due to Tsunami which helps to rig election and urged the authorities to release the details of the displaced persons on a regional basis, besides making arrangements for them to vote with measures to check their identity.

Meanwhile, the UNP election committee complained against armed men in vehicles without registration plates intimidating voters.

Abductions at gun point, exploiting government resources and vehicles to promote election propaganda for the ruling party are a great threat to democracy, Laxman Kiriyella said.


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