The Lanka Academic

 
APRIL 2, 2004 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 4, NO. 362

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2004 ELECTION RESULTS ARE COMING IN NOW! Check out the latest results and the prediction based on TLA's mathematical model.
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Sri Lanka Opposition in Line to Win Minority
Reuters, April 2. COLOMBO (Reuters) - President Chandrika Kumaratunga's party is in line to win Sri Lanka's third general election in four years but will be just shy of a parliamentary majority, early returns showed Saturday. If the trend holds, Kumaratunga, who is elected separately, will have a friendly government to deal with, but would still face problems restarting a stalled peace process with the island's Tamil Tiger rebels. Projections from Web site Lanka Academic (theacademic.org) show Kumaratunga's United People's Freedom Alliance winning 111 seats in the 225-seat parliament, against 87 for the outgoing ruling United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. More...
Published: Fri Apr 2 22:49:01 EST 2004

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SLDF Denounces Massive Election Fraud in North and East
SLDF -NewsWire, April 2. As the polls closed in Sri Lanka’s April 2 election, one thing was clear. Tamil voters of the North and East had once again been denied their franchise. But this time the obstacle was not war, nor was it state-sponsored discrimination. It was fraud, intimidation and murder perpetrated ­ ironically -- by the LTTE and its proxy, the TNA. While incidents and fraud did occur in some other parts of Sri Lanka, the incidence of vote rigging in Jaffna, Batticaloa, Vanni and Trincomalee, was exceptionally high, and blatantly executed. Voting in the North and East had been preceded by deliberate targeting of opponents by the LTTE over the course of many months, during which hundreds of people ­ including candidates, potential candidates and their supporters -- were killed, “disappeared,” injured and otherwise threatened to silence their dissent. But the LTTE failed to complete its mission. A few courageous people, knowing fully well they endangered their lives in doing so, remained willing to stand up to the LTTE to contest this election.

During this election, the LTTE refused to risk the possibility that Tamil voters might reject the LTTE’s violent hold on their community and its totalitarian claim as the Tamils’ sole representative. To achieve this end Tiger cadres and members of the TNA stuffed ballot boxes, distributed stolen and counterfeit polling cards, deployed impersonators (including teenagers), threatened and photographed polling agents from other parties. Jaffna residents report that as late as the evening of April 1, LTTE cadres were going house to house and demanding that individuals relinquish polling cards. On Election Day supporters of dissident parties complained that on their way to the polls, their polling cards had been stolen from them.

Witnesses in Jaffna reported men distributing stacks of polling cards, and others attempting to wash off the ink used to mark the fingers of people who have already voted. They also reported that LTTE members and TNA supporters, were ferrying chosen voters to the polling booths via vehicles with erroneous number plates.

The role of the police during the elections is unacceptable. The police failed to record grievances, and they failed to act when dissenting party candidates and others protested against their having been subjected to intimidation and fraud. The police should have ensured against such massive fraud and blatant violation of election law.

Tamil opposition parties estimate that tens of thousands of fraudulent votes may have been cast in Jaffna. Their estimate is more than credible. Given that the last voter list was compiled in 1986, and that approximately a third of Jaffna’s population remains displaced, a large percentage of those who voted in this past election were impostors carrying the voting cards of displaced and deceased citizens. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence has stated: “… on the basis of the reports that we have received from our observers in the field, we feel that polling in the Jaffna District was subjected to systematic impersonation, therefore warranting an annulment of the poll there followed by a re poll of the District. We urge the Commissioner to consider this.”

Witnesses in Vavuniya reported election fraud as well. CMEV observed: “systematic impersonation and distribution of polling cards … at clustered polling booths” in Omanthai.

In Batticaloa, supporters of dissident LTTE leader Karuna fell into old habits as they backed their own candidates with similar tactics. The LTTE’s recent murder of TNA candidate Rajan Sathiyamurthy ­ allied with the dissident Karuna -- discouraged many voters in Batticaloa town from going to the polls. But voters from “uncleared” areas received explicit instructions to vote for select candidates, and did so in large numbers, particularly after Karuna’s men distributed polling cards to them. Furthermore, the Muslim constituencies in the East faced rigging both from the UPFA and SLMC.

SLDF also remains concerned about the safety of dissenting party candidates and supporters in the North and East. During the last few weeks, LTTE cadres threatened candidates, their relatives and party supporters saying that “they would be finished” after the elections. SLDF’s worst fears to date were realized as two candidates were murdered and at least six others related to the elections were murdered or seriously injured after Amnesty International issued the following statement on February 27, 2004: “In the run up to parliamentary elections called for 2 April, Amnesty International is urging political parties and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to instruct their members not to assassinate political opponents or their supporters, or carry out other violent attacks on party activists and election monitors during the election period.” SLDF calls on the President, the caretaker government and the international community to ensure the safety of dissenting party candidates and supporters after the elections, as retributive killings are likely to target candidates and party workers that did not fall in line with the LTTE’s threats.

SLDF can only conclude that this election bears little if any meaning for the people of the North and East. The right to vote and choose one’s political representatives freely is precious, and that right has been denied to the people of the North and East for decades. Opposition candidates were summarily denied the opportunity to state their views to the people of the North and East, and in some horrific cases, simply eliminated of their existence altogether. During this election, the typically sacrosanct act of casting one’s vote, so essential to the democratic process, was denigrated into an object of utter ridicule. Election fraud constitutes an atrocious act of theft that strips from people, already disempowered, one of the few rights they still own. We therefore lend our overwhelming support to all whom call to annul the results of this election, and hold a fresh vote.
Published: Fri Apr 2 23:08:12 EST 2004 Back to the top


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Sri Lanka Leader Gains Boost in Election
miami.com, April 02, 2004, 22:15 EST. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - The Sri Lankan president's alliance gained a boost in early vote counting Saturday after residents turned out in force for parliamentary elections, hoping to help set the agenda for peace talks with a ruthless rebel army. More...
Published: Fri Apr 2 22:20:10 EST 2004 Back to the top

Polling In Jaffna Subjected to Systematic Impersonation-CMEV
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 5.10 A.M Saturday 3 April. The Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) say that polling in the Jaffna District was subjected to systematic impersonation, warranting an annulment of the poll followed by a re poll of the District... Back to the top

EPDP calls for the annulment of Trincomalee District
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 2, 2004, 11.59 pm. The Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) has requested Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake for an annulment of the Trincomalee District, due to large scale impersonation and ballot box stuffing by the LTTE at today’s elections... Back to the top

Several major areas in the Eastern province affected by large scale rigging at today’s polls
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 2, 2004, 11.56 p.m.. Muslim dominated areas in the Eastern province were also affected with election related intimidation... Back to the top

Police decides not to impose curfew due to the prevailing peaceful environment
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 2, 2004, 11.39 pm. Inspector General of Police Indra de Silva today announced that due to the prevailing ‘peaceful’ atmosphere in the country, there is no necessary to impose curfew... Back to the top

Sri Lanka parties neck and neck as vote count progresses
channelnewsasia.com, April 02, 2004, 22:15 EST. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's two main parties were in a close fight on Saturday as the elections commission began releasing results of parliamentary polls, officials said... Back to the top

Tamil Parties Call for Fresh Elections In Jaffna
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 5.45 P.M Friday 2 April. EPDP, EPRLF and other Tamil parties are calling for fresh elections to be held in Jaffna... Back to the top

Large voting turnout seen at Sri Lanka parliamentary polls, XINHUA
Associated Press, Fri April 2, 2004 14:15 EST . - - Large voting turnout seen at Sri Lanka - parliamentary polls, XINHUA ASIA WorldSources, Inc... Back to the top

Tamil Tigers stuffing ballot boxes, attacking adversaries, rival party alleges
Associated Press, Fri April 2, 2004 04:52 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tigers rebels have been stopping voters who don't back their proxy party, the Tamil National Alliance, from casting ballots in Friday's parliamentary elections, according to an official with a rival Tamil party... Back to the top

Sri Lanka awaits results after mostly clean vote
reuters.com, April 02, 2004, 22:15 EST. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankans held one of their most peaceful elections in decades but still did not know early on Saturday if the result would break a political deadlock that has stalled efforts to end a two-decade civil war Back to the top

LTTE (P) Getting Ready to Capture Areas in the East- Karuna Faction
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.20 P.M Friday 2 April. Spokesman for LTTE's renegade eastern commander, Karuna Amman says that the Wanni administration is getting ready to capture some areas in the east, under their control... Back to the top

Polls Close After Sri Lankans Vote in Large Numbers
ABCNEWS.com, April 2, 2004. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankans voted in large numbers on Friday, but there was no indication so far they had broken a political logjam that has frozen efforts to revive a peace bid with the island's separatist Tamil Tigers... Back to the top

Crossing rivers, camping overnight, Tamils vote in Sri Lanka 's election
Associated Press, Fri April 2, 2004 03:15 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - KOKKADICHCHOLAI, Sri Lanka - (AP) Thousands of Tamils the ethnic minority at the center of Sri Lanka - 's two-decade civil war voted Friday in an election that could see a guerrilla-backed Tamil party emerge as a serious political player... Back to the top

"High Scale Impersonations Taking Place in Jaffna- Anandasangaree
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 1.50 P.M Friday 2 April. TULF leader and Independent Candidate V. Ananddasangaree says that high scale impersonations are taking place in Jaffna with the same group of people going from booth to booth and casting other peoples votes... Back to the top

Small Parties May Benefit in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Thu April 1, 2004 22:27 EST . TIM SULLIVAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Soldiers were out in force for parliamentary elections Friday seen as a showdown between Sri Lanka - 's president and prime minister but also likely to give increased power to smaller parties in the war-savaged country... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Tamils vote in boost to rebel-backed party
reuters.com, 02 Apr 2004 08:07 . COLOMBO (Reuters) - Tamils from Sri Lanka's rebel-held areas turned out in large numbers on Friday to cast votes in a general election that could boost support for candidates allied to the Tamil Tigers... Back to the top

Large voting turnout seen at Sri Lanka parliamentary polls
xinhuanet.com, April 02, 2004, 07:25 EST. Over 12 million voters islandwide go to more than 10,000 polling stations to elect a new 225-member parliament for a six year term... Back to the top

LTTE Trio To Meet With Swiss Officials
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 11.00 A.M Friday 2 April. Three member LTTE delegation that left for Switzerland today will meet with middle level Swiss foreign officials according to the Ambassador for Switzerland in Colombo, Bernardino Regazzoni... Back to the top

Sri Lankans vote in election likely to leave divided Parliament
Associated Press, Fri April 2, 2004 03:55 EST . SHIMALI SENANAYAKE - Associated Press Writer - (AP) Fearing more war but hoping for peace, Sri Lankans voted in strong numbers and under heavy security on Friday in snap elections expected to result in a divided legislature with no clear winner... Back to the top

US Funds Healthcare for Sri Lanka s Deprived Muslims
oneworld.net, April 02, 2004, 07:25 EST. COLOMBO, Apr 2 (OneWorld) - Fourteen years after they were displaced from their homes by a civil war, around 800 Muslim families in northwestern Sri Lanka finally have access to free medical facilities, thanks to a largely US initiative... Back to the top

S.Lankan president calls for free, fair parliamentary election
People's Daily, 02 April. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has appealed to all citizens in the country to extend their fullest cooperation to hold a free and fair parliamentary election on Friday... Back to the top

Voting gets underway in Sri Lanka
indiatimes.com, APRIL 02, 2004 08:46:18 AM . Voting got underway in Sri Lanka on Friday in the third parliamentary election in four years amid tight security by thousands of police, the independent election commission said... Back to the top

Karuna denies ordering Northern Tamil expulsion.
thenee.com, April 1. In an interview with the Tamil broadcasting corporation in London the eastern LTTE leader Karuna denied giving any orders to clear out "Northern Tamils" from the east... Back to the top

Karuna Faction Say Interested Parties Creating Problems im the East
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 6.00 A.M Friday 2 April. Karuna faction of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) denied report that they have ordered all Jaffna Tamils to leave the Eastern Province and they were distributing leaflets containing the order... Back to the top

Sri Lanka votes in tense election
Yahoo, Friday, 2 April, 2004, 06:41 GMT. Voting is underway in Sri Lanka in an early election which is being seen as a referendum on the peace process with the Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Sri Lanka will elect its 13th Parliament today
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, April 2, 2004, 12.07 a.m.. Sri Lanka will today decide on its 13th 225-member legislature... Back to the top

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