Commissioner declares no re-vote as candidates claim electoral fraud
[TamilNet, Sunday, 04 April 2004, 13:54 GMT]
While there were voting irregularities observed in two districts in the South and speculation was rife that there will be revoting, the defeated V. Ananthasangaree, the controversial Leader of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), whose Independent group in Jaffna district garnered less than 2% of the votes and the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) which managed to get a single seat, claimed widespread voter fraud by the Liberation Tigers in Jaffna district, media reports said. But the Election Commissioner Sunday decided against a re-vote.
Election Commissioner Dayanada Dissanayake after meeting with leaders of Sri Lanka's major parties told reporters, "We had a lengthy discussion and I have decided that there is no need for re-polling."
Mr.Anandasangaree faulted the Commissioner for not annulling the election result and calling for a re-poll in areas controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels and accused him of "legalizing terrorism."
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) got ninety percent of the total votes polled in Jaffna and secured eight of the district’s nine seats. The landslide victory is unprecedented. The total votes polled in the district was 303259, of which 21233 (6.96 percent) were rejected as spoilt.
"All kinds of offences were committed. The European monitors did not see the other side of the story. We cannot accept this result. We are going to ask for a re-poll," Anandasangaree told Indian news media before the Election Commissioner declared that there won't be re-vote.
Jaffna residents meanwhile told TamilNet that, although Mr.Anandasangaree did not engage in district wide personal campaign, his organization invested substantial amount of sums in printing regular large-size advertisements in the local media throughout the campaign days. Voters were not convinced by Anandasangarees campaign and appeared to hold him responsible for creating divisions within the TULF with his refusal to step down from the leadership position.
Other sources close to the TULF campaign said that the Anandasangaree campaign also spent significant sums of money in activating the TULF support base loyal to him.
Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) which obtained a single seat by polling 18,612 votes (6.2%) saw its number of elected members decline from 9 seats to one during the last four elections.
Political sources pointed out that EPDP still has a minority of strong supporters in several areas including Nallur and Manipay areas of Jaffna. During the PA regime when Douglas Devananda was the Minister of NorthEast Development the EPDP financed development of roads and other facilities which helped to increase its support base.
The declining support for EPDP is also evident in Colombo district alone its voter base decreased by 10% from the last elections, from 647 votes in 2001 to 539 in 2004.