Election body refutes allegations
[TamilNet, Monday, 29 March 1999, 23:56 GMT]
The election monitoring body, the Centre For Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), issued a statement at a press conference held in Colombo today in response to press reports regarding the Centre and its work. The CMEV said in its statement entitled " Refutation of Systematic Propaganda against CMEV" that it would not deal with the "malicious personal attacks" but rather concentrate on the "substantive issues raised."
Stressing that it "takes such allegations very seriously" the CMEV goes on to identify and respond to three main issues that have been raised.
The allegation that the CMEV figures are inflated and higher than the Police figures is the first and according to the statement "most hysterical and oft repeated" charge that the Centre refutes.
According to the statement the CMEV has recorded 993 election related incidents in the five election provinces for the period up to the 28 March. However, Police HQ recorded 492 incidents in the five provinces in the period up to March 27.
The CMEV accounts in part for this discrepancy by pointing to the 163 complaints that were reported to the CMEV and not to the Police.
The statement also says that a further 278 incidents that have been recorded by the CMEV have also been recorded by local Police stations but have yet to be collated by the central Police HQ. This is because it generally takes 48 hours for incidents recorded at regional Police stations to be recorded by the Police HQ and therefore, "headquarters will contain only complaints up to March 25th the latest."
Furthermore, the statement says,the Police register does not include the most recent incidents and there is often a lapse of time between an incident occurring and it being recorded by the Police register.
"In all of the 492 cases reported by the Police Headquarters up to March 26,1999,only 34 were included within 24 hours of the incident taking place," the statement said.
The CMEV says that it is able to register incidents earlier than Police HQ because, "through its field monitors, CMEV has a more direct link to the local areas in which these incidents allegedly take place."
The CMEV statement then goes on to take issue with the allegation that its figures have been refuted by the other election monitoring bodies, MFFE and PAFFREL.
"This clam is easily refuted by reference to these organisations. MFFE, PAFFREL and CMEV have worked together in close tandem for the past two years, since CMEVs inception," says the statement.
The press release says that a member of PAFFREL quoted elsewhere as having cast allusions about the CMEV has since denied this.
"Mr Kingsley Rodrigo of PAFFREL, who is quoted in a press release of the PA Polls Warch, denies having said anything negative about CMEV's reports or its methodology of monitoring," said the statement.
The statement goes onto defend the CMEV's publication of detailed individual reports adding that a further press conference would provide details to substantiate the report.
"CMEV stands by its detailed individual reports of selected incidents during the current Provincial Council elections,just as it did at the Wayamba Provincial Council elections. At a special press conference this week CMEV will provide to the public the relevant information, depositions etc which substantiate the contents of the reports in question relating to the current provincial elections," the statement said.
The statement points out that legal action threatened against the body has yet to materialise," Ministers of the present Government threatened the signatories of the CMEV Report with criminal defamation,a threat which has not yet been executed."
The CMEV concluded by saying that it would continue to function in its capacity as a "public service" and has "no intention of succumbing to slander and miscellaneous threats."