Local election monitors note polls peaceful fair

Local election monitors said the Parliamentary election held today was the most peaceful and fair in the recent history of the country.Rohana Hettiarchchie, Executive Director of the Peoples Action for a Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) said that the predominant feature of these elections was the deference given to rulings of the Election Commissioner by the Government, contesting political parties and by the supporters of the political parties. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) meanwhile said that whilst there have been reports of violence and malpractice, polling in this General Election had been largely peaceful and without hindrance.CMEV said the police in particular have been vigilant in protecting the integrity of the electoral process and have arrested 50 individuals for violations of election law. He said that a total of 212 incidents were reported on Election Day, but none of them were of serious consequence. At the end of polling, CMEV has recorded a total of 316 incidents. Of these, while 109 have been categorized as Major Incidents, 196 Minor Incidents have also been reported. The highest number of Major Incidents relate to the intimidatory presence of party supporters in the vicinity of polling centres.Four (4) incidents of threat and Intimidation in the polling divisions of Pathadumbara in Kandy, Medawachchiya in Anuradhapura, Kopay in Jaffna and Eheliyagoda in Ratnapura respectively were also reported along with 01 incident of assault from Nawalapitiya in the Kandy district. (Colombo Gazette) “This showed a real shift in power towards the elections commissioner who was not contesting the government to ensure that the law was implemented.  The change was especially stark in relation to the election that preceded this, the presidential election of January 2015 in which violations of election law that involved the gross abuse and misuse of state resources took place on a large scale, including on Election Day itself,” he said.

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