Opposition parties demand poll cancellation

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 26 January 1999, 13:50 GMT]
All the parties that contested the elections to Sri Lanka's North-western Provincial Council (NWPC), except the ruling PA, issued statements this afternoon demanding that the polls should be declared null and void forthwith.

The announcements came after a stormy meeting between the general secretaries of all the parties that contested the polls and the Commissioner of Elections earlier in the day, before the results were released.

The JVP said that it will file an action in court seeking the cancellation of the NWPC polls together with the Liberal party, the New Left Front (NLF) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Liberation Front.

A spokesman for the JVP said that there will be a mass protest and demonstration against the rigging and fraud at the Liptons Circus in Colombo on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the UNP issued a statement this afternoon also demanding that the election be declared null and void.

The statement says:

"This is an election where every known election law and the laws of the land had been openly and grossly violated with impunity, where all accepted moral and ethical standards have been flouted, and where a total mockery has been made of the entire democratic process. Therefore the UNP joins the people of Wayamba (the traditional Sinhala term for the Northwestern Province) in totally rejecting the results of this election.

We are convinced that the people of Sri Lanka endorse our call to a total rejection of this verdict.

Statistics available to the UNP reveal that more than six hundred polling stations out of a total of 1160 were severely affected.

At a conference of the General Secretaries of the contesting parties summoned by the Commissioner of Elections today, the commissioner himself admitted that according to official reports made to him, 212 polling stations had been invaded by armed gangs who forcibly stuffed the ballot boxes.

A further nine ballot boxes from other polling stations were burnt and did not reach the counting centres. This admission by the commissioner himself establishes that no free and fair election took place. The election must therefore necessarily be declared null and void."

The largest party of the PA coalition government, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), maintained that the election had been fair and that the democratic rights of the people had been fully exercised.

The state run TV and radio stations were fully mobilised today to support the government's position that democracy was rejuvenated at the NWP polls by the grace and magnanimity of the SLFP's leadership.

Mr.Alavi Moulana, Minister for Provincial Councils and Local Government issued a statement on behalf of the ruling party today. It says:

"The SLFP and the government are extremely thankful to the people of the North-western province for the support and the encouragement given by them to safeguard the democratic process in this election and the active participation of Tamils and Muslims of Wayamba province along with Sinhalese in achieving success.

The government under the leadership of Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is always dedicated to uphold the democracy of this country, and Her Excellency, following the path of her mother Madam Srimavo Bandaranaike and father SWRD Bandaranaike, has shown SLFP is continuing its policy of safe guarding the democratic rights of the people."

 

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