Elections not free and fair - PAFFREL
[TamilNet, Monday, 25 January 1999, 22:22 GMT]
Sri Lanka's polls watchdog, the People's Alliance For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), in a statement issued after polling concluded in the northwestern Provincial Council elections said that reports from its election monitors clearly indicate that the conduct of the elections does not fulfill the criteria of being free and fair.
It said that there are reports of ballot box stuffing, the impersonation of large numbers of voters, threats and physical assaults of polling agents amongst other acts of violence.
These malpractices have occurred on a widespread and systematic basis throughout the province, it said.
According to information received by PAFFREL, these violations have been committed predominantly by the People's Alliance, the report said.
It has been pointed out in the report that stuffing of ballot papers had taken place in 13 polling booths.
In 24 polling stations thugs had driven off the polling agents of political opponents of the ruling party.
PAFFREL said that it will submit a fuller report on the elections shortly.
PAFFREL believes that the Northwestern Provincial Council elections are irretrievably flawed and requested that the elections held today (25) be invalidated and that fresh elections be held after suitable remedial measures have been taken by the government to ensure a free and fair poll.
The report is signed by its chairman Godfrey Gunatilleke.