The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 195

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The Lanka Academic is delighted to introduce the second guest for our online "Question and Answer" session: Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, the spokesperson of the United National Party. Answers to the questions 1-42 have been posted.
ENDS OCTOBER 22, 2000 More...
· Overview of Results
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The Lanka Academic carried an online "Question and Answer" sessions with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Mangala Moonesinghe from September 1, 2000 through September 24, 2000. You can view the questions from visitors like you and the answers by Mr. Moonesinghe here.
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Where is MIR today?
Bandula Jayasekera, in Colombo. She has done so much for the country's arts, culture, environment, and its society. She was a member of the Environmental Authority and continues to run the organisation 'Rukrekaganno' from her house. That too because she was asked to vacate the premises the organisation occupied earlier. Once Gamani Fonseka said of her "With her talent she could have won many Oscars if she had been born in America." President Chandrika calls her affectionately 'Chandi Nanda' and Ranil Wickremasinghe is her close relation too. She is the inimitable Irangani Serasinghe. More...
US State Department. Colombo, 4 August 2000 - The U.S. State Department announced on July 31 that the mail-in period for the next U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program (DV-2002) will run from noon, October 2, through noon, November 1, 2000. There is no application fee and no special application form is required. The application with the necessary information can simply be typed on a blank sheet of paper. More...
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Lanka crisis over Speaker's election
India Abroad, Oct. 17, 2000 23:30 Hrs(IST) . Colombo: Sri Lanka's newly elected Parliament meets for its first session on Wednesday amid uncertainty over the election of the speaker and the government unable to cobble together a cabinet. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA) was yet to finalize a list of cabinet ministers on Tuesday as talks were still under way with a key Muslim partner who promised support to prop up a coalition government. Officials said it was unprecedented for a new Parliament to have its first session without a cabinet of ministers sworn in. More...
Published: Tue Oct 17 16:01:26 EDT 2000
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PA may back UNP candidate  - The Hindu (International)
Sri Lankan government to back opposition Speaker  -

Ask Karu! Ends Oct. 22nd Send in your questions to the spokesperson of UNP, Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku. Answers 1-42 now in.
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Theertha Yaatra is Lanka’s best film
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.50 p.m. October 17. Veteran film director Vasantha Obeysekara’s film ‘Theertha Yaatra’ (Pilgrimage) has won the presidential award for the best film of the year. The awards presentation will be held at ‘Temple Trees’ on Saturday 21 October with President Chandrika Kumratunge as the chief guest. Co producer of ‘Theertha Yaatra’ Chandran Rutnam speaking exclusively to ‘The Lanka Academic’ said that Vasantha has won two awards, for the best direction and for the best screenplay. Rutnam said “ I have co-produced five films with Asoka Perera and this is the first time that we have won a presidential award and it is a great encouragement to us, specially at a time when the local cinema industry is going through a bad period” Rutnam also said that they lost money in producing ‘Theertha Yaatra’ but, he and Perera were happy to have produced a good movie.

‘ Theertha Yaatra’ starring Yasodha Wimaladharma, Joe Abeywickrema, Ravindra Randeniya and Veena Jayakody is a movie about an adopted girl in search of her biological parents. However at the end she realizes that the biological relationships are not the most important factor in one’s life but, personal relationships, ties between human beings and the affections they engender that matters.
Published: Tue Oct 17 14:13:19 EDT 2000

New cabinet to take oaths on October 21
CDN, 18 October 2000. The members of the PA Government's new Cabinet are due to take oaths on October 21,official sources said yesterday. Almost all members of the outgoing Cabinet will be re-appointed to the new Cabinet which will also include several new faces, sources added. Among those tipped to get ministerial posts are Dinesh Gunawardena, Rauf Hakeem, Mrs. Farial Ashraff, Prof. Leslie Gunawardena, SusilPremajayantha and Douglas Devananda.Some Chief Ministers are also due to be included in the new Cabinet. More...
Published: Tue Oct 17 23:19:31 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka president delays naming cabinet  - MSNBC
Splinter Mandate  - OutlookIndia

National Government Likely; Analysis
Saroj Pathirana in London, Tuesday 17 October 1730 GMT. As ruling PA's . nominating president Chandrika Kumaratunge's estranged brother Anura Bandaranaike as speaker for the 11th parliament, there seems to be a national government in the near future, political analysts believe. It is understood that with differences in NUA (SLMC) over supporting PA increasing, and with their hard portfolio bargaining, government seems to moving towards UNP, for their support.In an interview with BBC's "Sandeshaya", UNP spokesman Karunasena Kodituwakku admitted that prime minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake had personally made a request to propose Anura for the post of speaker.

However, there are some dissident forces in the government itself. Reacting to Mr.Kodituwakku, Parliamentry affairs minister Jeyaraj Fernandopullai told "Sandeshaya" that he completely opposes a national government, saying he wouldn't like to see JVP emerging as the main opposition.Minister further admitted that he would prefer to offer minority parties important portfolios, than joining with UNP. However, as analysts point out,with ex-UNPers like Ronnie de Mel, Wijepala Mendis & Sarath Amunugama are tipped to be new ministers in the new collision government, there wouldn't be many political or even personal differences within two main rivals.

Eleventh parliament will go on history as the first parliament to meet without a cabinet.
Published: Tue Oct 17 13:49:00 EDT 2000

Courts say election of new bishop is in order.
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.00 p.m. October 17. Kandy high court judge Justice Lekamwasam gave his ruling today that the election of Reverend Dr. Kumara Bandara Illangasinghe as the fourth Bishop of Kurunegala is in order and he is satisfied that the church had followed the proper procedures in the election of the new Bishop. A lawyer in Kandy Narendra Perera challenged the election of Reverend Illangasinghe to the highest position in the Anglican Church in court on Monday. In his petition, Perera said that the church had not followed the proper procedures in electing the new bishop.

It is the first time in the history of the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka that a person had challenged the election of a Bishop that had been ratified by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Late Lakdasa de Mel was the first Bishop of Kurunegala. Late Lakshman Wickremasinghe much loved and a respected figure in Sri Lanka and Bishop Andrew Kumarage followed him.

Dr. Illangasinghe will be enthroned as the new Bishop of Kurunegala tomorrow morning.
Published: Tue Oct 17 13:15:26 EDT 2000

Hard bargaining for Sri Lanka posts
BBC South Asia, Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK. The prime minister in the previous administration, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, was sworn in for another term last Friday, but negotiations over other posts are continuing. The PA was six seats short of an overall majority, forcing it to seek allies among smaller parties. More...
Published: Tue Oct 17 12:57:54 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's new Parliament to meet tomorrow
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on October 17, 2000. Colombo, Oct. 17. (PTI): The wafer-thin majority of Sri Lanka's new Government led by Ratnasiri Wickramanayake would face its first acid test tomorrow when Parliament meets to elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, even as the much awaited swearing in of the Cabinet was delayed amid reports of feud in one of the key ally of the ruling Peoples Alliance (PA). More...
Published: Tue Oct 17 13:02:24 EDT 2000
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Lanka's 11th Parliament convenes tomorrow  - Frederica Jansz in Colombo

Sri Lankan army: five killed in attack on Tamil base
MSNBC, Tuesday, October 17 9:14 PM SGT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Oct. 17 - Government troops raided a Tamil Tigers rebel base in northern Sri Lanka, killing five guerrillas, a military spokesman said Tuesday. Using rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, the troops surprised the rebels in Monday's raid at Nunavil in the Jaffna Peninsula, Brig. Sanath Karunaratne said. ''We were able to completely destroy the bunker and other fortification of the terrorists,'' he said. He said the bodies of five rebels were recovered. More...
Published: Tue Oct 17 13:01:18 EDT 2000

Ex Sihala Urumaya chief outlines future plans
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.05 p.m. SLT Tuesday October 17. Former President of the Sihala Urumaya S. L. Gunesekera outlining his future plans said today one does not have to be part of a political party in order to "protect the territorial rights of the Sinhala people." Gunsekera giving reasons as to why he chose to resign from the party said that he would not bow down to thuggery and intimidation which a section of the Sihala Urumaya has resorted to in order to "cut my throat." He said he still firmly believed in the principles upon which the Sihala Urumaya had been founded and that he would as an individual continue to work for those principles.

Gunesekera and 7 other executive committee members of the Sinhala dominated party resigned yesterday after an internal dispute broke out over who should represent the party in Parliament for the one solitary seat it won at last Tuesday's election.

Tilak Karunaratne who has taken over the leadership of the party will represent the party in Parliament. Karunaratne said today that he was shocked and saddened at yesterday's split in the party heirachy. Karunaratne however last week was quick to claim that he was the most suitable to represent the SU in Parliament.
Published: Tue Oct 17 03:50:30 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's foreign affairs minister to visit Japan Oct 21-25, Oct 18 2000 08:19 IST. TOKYO, Oct 18 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's minister of foreign affairs will visit Japan from October 21 to 25, the Japanese foreign ministry said Wednesday. Lakshman Kadirgamar will meet Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono to discuss bilateral relations and the state of Southwest Asian affairs, a statement said. More...
Published: Tue Oct 17 23:21:58 EDT 2000

Kumaratunga calls for early SAARC summit
India Abroad, Oct. 17, 2000 18:25 Hrs(IST) . Dhaka: Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the current chairman of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), has called for holding the next summit meeting of the regional body at an early date, a minister in Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed's cabinet has said. More...
Published: Tue Oct 17 11:01:42 EDT 2000

'City of Trinco' leaves for Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.05 p.m. SLT Tuesday October 17 . Over 200 civilians had last evening boarded the 'City of Trinco' passenger ship to the Jaffna Peninsula. According to the Divisional Secretariat Trincomalee, the ship last evening had carried 214 passengers to the North. Another 1700 are awaiting passage from Trinco to Jaffna. The ship will return to Trinco this evening with another 400 passengers travelling from the North to the East.

The ship travels under the escort of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and has received guarantees from both the Government and the LTTE that it will not be a target.
Published: Tue Oct 17 03:50:30 EDT 2000

Kadi says peace a distant reality
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Tuesday October 17. Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said yesterday that he was pessimistic about peace in the country. Kadirgamar maintained that in the present environment peace was a distant reality. He however asserted that Norway's Special Envoy Eric Solheim was welcome to maintain contact between the Government and the LTTE in their bid to help negotiate a peaceful settlement to Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic war.
Published: Tue Oct 17 03:50:29 EDT 2000

Two Sri Lankans receive donated eyes, regain sight
MSNBC, 20.00 hrs (IST) on October 17, 2000. Doctors have restored vision to two men by transplanting the donated corneas of the late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the National Eye Hospital said Tuesday. Two men aged 32 and 70 received the corneas, hospital administrators said. Hospital director Sarath Abahayasekhera confirmed the surgery but declined to give details. More...
Published: Tue Oct 17 20:31:33 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Bandaranaike's corneas give sight to two Lankans  - India Abroad
Blind in Sri Lanka given sight by former PM's eyes  -

To make way for party nominees Three JVP members to resign
Island, 17 October 2000. Three of the JVP members elected to Parliament after swearing in as MPs on Wednesday will resign to accommodate three other nominees of the party. Propaganda Secretary of the JVP Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday that from the eight elected members five would remain while the other three would resign for the party to nominate three others to enable the JVP parliamentary group to act in a more effective manner. Among those elected are former MP Nihal Galappaththi, JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa and JVP Presidential candidate Nandana Gunetilleka. Wimal Weerawansa denied reports that its self exiled leader Somawansa Amarasinghe will be nominated on the National List. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 23:03:45 EDT 2000

TULF to challenge Jaffna Result
Saroj Pathirana in London, Monday 16 October 1800 GMT. TULF is to go to the courts challenging the Jaffna district results, as there were more votes than the actual voters in Jaffna district polls. According to TULF, voting had already started at 9pm on 9th October, twelve hours before the official voting started,in EPDP controlled Delft island.
Published: Mon Oct 16 14:14:01 EDT 2000

CMEV says Lankan election was rigged
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.30 a.m. SLT Monday October 16. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has concluded its analysis of the violence and violations that took place throughout the country on election day, October 10, 2000. CMEV stands by its preliminary report submitted to the Elections Commissioner in which the appeal was made to annul the poll in 17 electoral divisions comprising 1081 polling centres, since the nature and extent of violence in these electoral divisions was such as to irrevocably mar the outcome of the poll.

CMEV wrote to the Election Commissioner that the nature and extent of violations have been so widespread and serious in the following electorates as to render the final outcome in these areas utterly meaningless. In addition, the level and degree of violence in these areas during the campaign period too was higher than in other parts of the country, CMEV, therefore, urged the Commissioner of Elections, by virtue of the powers vested in him by Sections 48 A, 128 and 129, of the Parliamentary Elections Act No 1 of 1981 to annul the voting in these electoral divisions, in order to restore credibility to the electoral process in other regions of the country.

Though these areas were the most violent, election-rigging was not confined to these areas. CMEV received reports of serious election violations, including instances of murder, bombing, stuffing of ballot boxes, removal of ballot boxes, systematic impersonation and ballot rigging, threats and intimidation of both polling agents and voters, and the use of firearms including automatic weapons, as well as the misuse of state resources including military vehicles and personnel, from 578 polling centres in 101 electorates. This constitutes approximately 6% of all polling centres in the country, and is 11% of the 5203 centres monitored by CMEV in all 22 districts.

In considering this information, it is clear that at the very least the Kandy District needs to be re-polled if any semblance of faith in the democratic process is to be maintained. For instance, the majority of the winning party in the Kandy District is one-fifth of the votes cast in the 182 flawed polling centres CMEV monitored in the district.

It is CMEV’s considered assessment that taken as a whole the 2000 General Election was significantly marred by violence and election-related violations. In addition, the ongoing offensive in the Jaffna peninsula, as well as the de facto deprivation of voting rights to approximately 250,000 Tamil voters in so-called uncleared areas in the North-East Province has resulted in the election being a fraud in this province. In the rest of the country, 35 of CMEV’s monitors and observers were threatened and intimidated by supporters of the People’s Alliance.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:54 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan army braces for Tamil rebel attacks
Times of India (Breaking News), October 17. Police blew up a three-wheel motor scooter they suspected of carrying a bomb in downtown Colombo, as the army braced for new Tamil rebel attacks after a lull during parliamentary elections.Residents alerted the police after the scooter rickshaw was found abandoned in the busy Union Place area. Officials of the anti-terrorist Special Task Force carried out a controlled explosion. There were no casualties."Whenever there is lull in terrorist activities, we get concerned," said Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Sanath Karunaratne. "Our forces are on a full alert to counter any terrorist attack." More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 09:41:30 EDT 2000

Only eight out of record 117 women candidates to enter Parliament
CDN, 17 October 2000. Parliamentary general elections held last week saw 117 women candidates - the highest number of women to contest at an election in the history of Sri Lankan Elections, in the running. But only 8 of them succeeded in the bid to enter Parliament. Former Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena, Former Deputy UNP MP Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Former Kuranegala district, Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake, UNP candidateAnuradhapura district Chandrani Bandara, NUA candidate Ferial Ashraff from Digamadulla,Kurunagala PA candidate Soma Kumari Tennakoon and PA Puttlam district candidateShriyani Fernando are the successful andidates.Former Women's Affairs Minister Hema Ratnayake, Former Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapakse, Kalutara district Food and Trade Deputy Minister Sumithra PriyanganiAbeyweera were among the candidates who lost their seats. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 20:40:41 EDT 2000

Lanka Cabinet swearing-in put off to Wednesday
Times of India, 17 October 2000 . The swearing-in of the new Sri Lankan Cabinet, which was scheduled for Monday, was put off till Wednesday as President Chandrika Kumaratunga was struggling to accommodate in the new Cabinet various allies whose support enabled the People's Alliance to form the new government.Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) has pledged ''unconditional support'' to the new government and Kumaratunga has apparently asked Douglas Devananda what ministries his party would prefer to hold during the six-year term. Ferial Ashraff, wife of former minister and NUA leader M H M Ashraff who was killed in a helicopter crash, is likely to be inducted into the Cabinet. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 20:21:55 EDT 2000
Related News Stories
Lanka Cabinet swearing-in postponed  - The Hindu NUS

Sri Lanka clergy and business appeal for national government
Virtual New York, Monday, 16 October 2000 14:01 (ET). Sri Lanka's powerful Buddhist clergy and business leaders Monday appealed to President Chandrika Kumaratunga to form a national government. The demand came even as the ruling People's Alliance struggled to complete the list of federal ministers and its ally, the National Unity Alliance, made attempts to fend off rebellion in the party. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 15:09:47 EDT 2000
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Sri Lanka Private Sector Worries Over Coalition Govt  - Yahoo-DOwJones
Buddhists, businessmen seek broad-based Sri Lankan government  -

Sihala Urumaya President quits party
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 7.10 p.m. SLT Monday October 16. S. L. Gunesekera, President for the Sihala Urumaya today resigned from the party as an internal dispute arose over giving him the one solitary parliamentary seat the five month old party won at last Tuesday's election.

Last week, Champika Ranawaka co-founding member of the party claimed to have polled the highest number of preferential votes. Yet he said he would step down in favour of Gunesekera who polit bureau members said was the most suitable to represent the Sinhala dominated party in parliament.

However internal fighting broke out when on Sunday General Secretary of the party Tilak Karunaratne claimed that he was the most suitable to represent the SU in parliament and would accept the post if offered. Insinuations were also made against Gunesekera not being a Buddhist. The leading lawyer is a baptized Anglican by faith but claims to be an Aethist.

Sihala Urumaya was formed on principles of preserving the lost rights of the Sinhala race and was largely perceived by the public to be a racist party.
Published: Mon Oct 16 10:58:52 EDT 2000

Related News Stories
Sinhala nationalists squabble and split  - TamilNet
Sri Lanka party chief quits, accusing party members of terrorism  -
Sinhala Urumaya splits  - Deccan Herald

S. L rocks Sihala Urumaya.
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 3.30 a.m. October 16. General Secretary of Sri Lanka?s new political party Sihala Urumaya, Tilak Karunaratne told "The Lanka Academic" today that he is saddened by the sudden resignation of party president S. L. Gunasekara. He said " I have the highest respect for Mr. S. L. Gunasekara and I wish that he will change his mind and re-join the party"

S.L. Gunasekara resigned from the party this morning. The exact reason for his resignation is not known and he has not made an official statement as yet. However it is believed that Gunasekara is unhappy regarding the party's decision to make way for Gunasekara, General-Secretary Karunaratne and National Organizer Champika Ranawaka to serve two-year terms each in the new parliament. Sihala Urumaya had earlier decided to nominate only party President S. L Gunasekara as their Member of Parliament. The new political party has just one seat and that too from the national list.

Karunaratne admitted that Gunasekara's resignation has left a very bad taste in the mouth of Sihala Urumaya supporters . He said "We will have an aggressive campaign to try and explain to the public the exact position of our party".
Published: Mon Oct 16 05:42:10 EDT 2000

Vajpayee congratulates Chandrika
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on October 16, 2000. New Delhi, Oct. 16. (PTI): Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has congratulated Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga for the performance of the Peoples' Alliance in the recent parliamentary elections in the island nation. In a message to the Sri Lankan President, Vajpayee, who is recuperating in Mumbai after a knee surgery, felicitated the Sri Lankan people on their commitment to democratic values in difficult circumstances. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 20:23:29 EDT 2000

Coca Cola Cup: Sri Lankans determined
The Hindu NUS, 20.00 hrs (IST) on October 16, 2000. Sharjah, Oct. 16. (UNI): CRICKET:The Sri Lankans will like to forget their performance in the ICC knock-out tournament at Nairobi and take on India with a new determination in the opening encounter of the Coca Cola Cup cricket tournament, beginning here on October 20. The Sri Lankan team, led by Sanath Jayasuriya, arrived here yesterday and did some practice at the Sharjah cricket stadium. Sri Lankan coach Dave Whatmore said "losing (in Nairobi) was a small portion of disappointment for everyone, but in terms of effect, I would say that every member of the team would be trying even harder to win the Coca Cola Cup". More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 20:26:59 EDT 2000

Police Elections Secretariat to continue
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.05 p.m. SLT Monday October 16. The Police Elections Secretariat will continue for another thirty days and are expected to submit a report on all election related violences in the next three weeks. Acting Inspector General of Police. T. Anandarajah said today that the police had documented over 1800 incidents of election related violences in the run up to polls and on elections day. The police he said will soon initiate action against the perpetrators of the crimes committed once all evidence had been duly gathered and recorded. Senior Superintendent's of police personnel in all 22 electoral districts were being summoned to help the law enforcement authority document concrete evidence and push charges against all those who had broken the law during and after the General Elections.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:56 EDT 2000

Bombings Blind Sri Lankans
yahoo-ap, October 16. Nayantara Gunasekera, whose first name means ``star of the eye'' in her native Sinhala language, has been sightless since the Central Bank was bombed four years ago.The former lawyer who now settles neighborhood spats by phone is one of a growing number of blind Sri Lankans, wounded by flying shrapnel or glass from bombings blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels.Those who have lost their limbs during the 17-year civil war have received the most attention. Blindness in bomb explosions was a subject little discussed in this island nation of 18.6 million people, which has limited counseling, training or rehabilitation services. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 07:57:57 EDT 2000

Monitoring body slams Polls Chief
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.55 a.m. SLT Monday October 16. The Centre for Monitoring Eelection Violence is gravely concerned that the Elections Commissioner saw fit to annul only 22 polling centres in 6 districts 13 in the Kandy District, 01 in Matale, 04 in Nuwara Eliya, 01 in Hambantota, 02 in Balangoda, and 01 in Kegalle while he discounted 9,274 votes forcibly stuffed in another 47 polling centres but did not annul these polling centres. In some cases his decision appears to have no rational basis at all. For instance, regarding polling centre number 20 in the Beliatta polling division where one ballot box was forcibly removed from the centre, his decision has been to discount this incident and count the ballots cast in the remaining ballot box! Not only is this a gross travesty of the rights of those legitimate voters whose ballots happened to be in the missing box, it is also explicitly counter to the provisions of 48 A (3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No 1 of 1981.

In polling centre number 30 in the Hanguranketa polling division, the Elections Commissioner records that 01 (one) ballot was forcibly stuffed, while in Laggala in the Matale District in polling centre number 48, exactly 542 ballots were forcibly stuffed, and in Patha Dumbara in centre number 42 this number was 650. He treats this entire range, from 01 to 650, the same way removing the offending ballots and counting the rest as if nothing untoward had happened.

CMEV’s position is that this course of action is not merely unjust by the hundreds of ordinary voters who were deterred, even prevented, from casting their votes in these areas, it is also not provided for in the Parliamentary Elections Act. CMEV reiterates that the proper and least unfair procedure would have been to annul these polling centres where forcible stuffing was established, as provided for under section 48 A (2), since the stuffing would have eaten into the time available to the voters, thereby breaking the provision for continued access to the polling centre between 7.00 am and 4.00 pm on election day.

In addition, the Commissioner’s decision to annul 42 polling centres in the Kilinochchi polling division and, subsequently, also 49 in the Mullaitivu polling division appears unacceptable at this stage. CMEV has been at pains to emphasise to the Commissioner as well as election officials in the Jaffna District that special arrangements need to be made to accommodate voters living in LTTE-controlled areas, and have met him on two occasions to explain to him the unsatisfactory nature of the arrangements made by his staff in this regard. As regards Kilinochchi, the 42 polling centres in the so-called uncleared areas were nominally recorded as clustered at Jaffna Hindu College, but CMEV understands that they were not in fact operational. Similarly, the 49 polling centres in Mullaitivu were to be clustered in Vavuniya, the only polling centre deemed valid was No 31 which served the Sinhala population of Weli Oya. Hence, for the Commissioner to annul polling centres that he did not have on the ground is unacceptable, particularly since the total number of registered voters in the annulled polling centres of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu are approximately 56,000 and 52,000 respectively, even a fraction of whose votes would clearly alter the result in these areas. In the Jaffna District, for instance, approximately each 10,500 votes delivered a single member of parliament to each of four parties.

Moreover, the concrete process by which these stuffed ballots are eliminated from the counting remains unclear to CMEV, since this would require a serial count of the votes first, which the Elections Commissioner has refused to guarantee to Court (in application number 1041/2000) when requested to do a physical verification of the serial numbers of the ballot papers that have been stuffed into the boxes by issuing an order on the counting officers. CMEV is concerned with the lack of transparency and openness in the decision-making process with regard to determining the course of action to be taken concerning serious violations at polling centres, and in the inaccessibility to information relating to these decisions thereafter.

CMEV further wishes to record its surprise and disappointment at the reports submitted by the Observer Missions of the EU and the British-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group, and will be taking this issue up with the relevant authorities.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:55 EDT 2000

73 killed as a result of political rivalry
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.45 a.m. SLT Monday October 16. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) states that the incidents reported on election day (October 10, 2000) include 07 murders, which brings the total number of deaths during the election period to 73. It is important to note that CMEV’s analysis of individual polling centres is based on an assessment of events during the entire polling period, and generally involves a series of incidents. CMEV’s election day assessment is based on an evaluation of polling centres and not on the number of incidents recorded, since the effects of these incidents need to be measured in terms of the degree to which they permitted an unfettered exercise of the public franchise.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:54 EDT 2000

S. Asia Sees Modern Matriarchies
yahoo-ap, October 16. The world's first woman prime minister died just minutes after casting her ballot in national elections. She was survived by her daughter, who is president of Sri Lanka, and her son, an opposition leader. Sirimavo Bandaranaike's death at 84 last week came also on the 60th anniversary of her marriage to another former prime minister, who was murdered in 1959.Her story is not unique. In South Asia, where women are for the most part treated as second-class citizens, they have often been thrust into power by the slaying of their husbands or fathers, or named as figureheads by male power brokers - but in practice have turned out to be far from pliable. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 07:59:43 EDT 2000

NUA in crisis
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Monday October 16. The National Unity Alliance which set a 100 day deadline for President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge to adopt a new constitution is heading for an internal crisis. Political sources say that the NUA had pledged conditional support to form the coalition government after Tuesday's election pointed to a hung Parliament. Since then however reports assert that many of the NUA's constituent members are unhappy with decisions taken by General Secretary of the party Rauf Hakeem.

Hakeem had demanded three cabinet portfolios, two deputy ministership posts, three heads of corporation posts and some diplomatic postings for members of the NUA from the President in exchange for his crucial support to help her form the next government.

The President meanwhile today agreed to certain conditions put forward by the NUA. Rauf Hakeem said that the President had agreed to granting two cabinet portfolios and three deputy ministerships for the NUA including putting forward a new constitution and other proposals within a period of a hundred days.
Published: Mon Oct 16 02:15:53 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan FM pessimistic over peace process, Oct 16 2000 20:52 IST. OSLO, Oct 16 (AFP) - Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said Monday that he was pessimistic about prospects for peace in his country, despite Norway's efforts to mediate in the island's long running civil war. "I am not being particularly...optimist. We want Norway to remain engaged in the peace process but at the moment there is not much of a process," Kadirgamar said following a meeting with his Norwegian counterpart Thorbjoern Jagland. More...
Published: Mon Oct 16 15:04:37 EDT 2000
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