PA ministers deny violence charge

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 January 1999, 11:39 GMT]
(CORRECTED) Senior Ministers of the Sri Lankan Government, said today that the People's Alliance (PA) was not responsible for the violence during the North-western Provincial Council elections on January 25. This announcement was made at a press conference held at the Auditorium of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation at Colpetty (Kollpity) this morning.

A large number of media personnel attended the conference as this is the first to be held by the government after the controversial election to the North-western Provincial Council.

All the ministers who were accused of malpractice and election violence were present. They said that 65 percent of over 600 complaints lodged with the police during the election violence were about minor incidents.

jeyaratne_d_m-p.gifMinister D.M.Jayaratne, one of the ministers accused of election violence, said that turning your left cheek to the opponent, if he slaps on your right cheek will not suit politics.

He said PA supporters were also responsible for a small percentage of the election violence. His colleagues agreed.

The Ministers claimed that the Police were unable to bring the situation under control due to the war. Many of the experienced and senior Police officers are in the battle front, fighting the LTTE, while the small number deployed in election duty were outnumbered by the election violators they said.

According to the PA ministers, the UNP that was behind the election violence and had deployed members of the STF, raised when the opposition was in power. This was another reason why the police on election duty could not bring the situation under control they added.

The ministers were of the opinion that the experience of the North - western Provincial Council election showed that it would be difficult to hold elections in the other provinces.

dharmasiri_senanayake-p.gifTThe ministers said that they supported the Reforms to the Election Commission submitted by the UNP to the Parliament Select Committee. "But there should be some changes in the UNP's reform proposal" they added.

The Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Media, Managala Samaraweera said that some journalists had accused the PA of impersonating voters in the election, and asked if so how the UNP was able to get more than 30 persent of the votes.

He further said that the press made the election violence into a big issue; and he went on to say that actually there were only minor incidents.

Dharmasiri Senanayake, the Leader of SLFP, Minister D.M.Jayaratne the secretary of the People's Alliance, Minister Mangala Samaraweera, the spokesman to the cabinet, and Ministers S.P.Dissanayake, Kingsley Wickremaratne, C.V.Goonaratne, Alavi Moulana and Deputy Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa were present at the press conference.

 

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