Low voter turnout fuels malpractice in East
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 December 1999, 12:01 GMT]
Tamil voters living in the LTTE held areas of the eastern province have failed to show much interest in exercising their votes in today's presidential election TamilNet correspondents in the region said. As a result widespread impersonation is taking place in some areas, they say.
In the eastern Trincomalee town and its suburbs, voting was brisk in areas dominated by Sinhalese and Muslims, but in areas where Tamils live, percentage of voting was very low, they said.
However, in Kinniya where over 95 per cent belong to Muslims community, brisk voting was witnessed as polling began in the morning, they said.
As a result, in the afternoon, supporters of main parties were seen busy impersonating votes, residents said.Muttur
A TamilNet correspondent in Muttur said that only people who come to the Sri Lanka Army controlled areas to buy provisions, are seen voting at cluster polling stations set up for voters living in Tiger-controlled villages.
Some Tamil voters living in Killiveddy, Pachchanoor and Pattithidal have voted, the correspondent added.
But large number of voters residing in Tiger-controlled areas have stayed in their homes, he said.Batticaloa
A TamilNet correspondent in Valaichenai, north of Batticaloa town said many people came to vote from the large hinterlands of the district which are under the control of the Liberation Tigers.
These voters had trekked long distances from the early hours of the morning to reach clustered polling booths in the Sri Lanka Army controlled coastal belt of the Batticaloa district.
A TamilNet correspondent in Batticaloa said that turnout of the voters living in Tiger-controlled Vavunatheivu area, south of Batticaloa, was very low.
The Election Department has established cluster polling stations at Parameswara Vidiyalayam, close to the SLA camp in Sri Lanka Army controlled area for Vavunathivu voters.
Members of Tamil paramilitaries supporting the candidature of President Chandrika were seen in those clustered polling stations.
Complaints were made about impersonations and other election offences in Kaluwanchikudy area, the TamilNet correspondent there said.Ampara
Brisk polling was witnessed at Kalmunai, Sammanthurai and Akkaraipattu areas in the predominantly; Sinhala Ampara district, reports a TamilNet correspondent from there.
He said supporters of both main political parties were engaged in large scale impersonations.
The leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Minister of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Port Development Mr.M.H.M.Ashroff exercised his vote at the polling station established at Kalmunai Al-Kathia Vidiyalyam.
As of noon today 70 percent of the registered electorate had exercised their votes in the Ampara district.
Several violent incidents had taken place at Akkaraipattu and Kalmunai areas, said sources.
Vehicles belonged to a Sri Lanka Muslim Congress supporter were damaged at Akkaraipattu.
At Kalmunai, a car belonged to the father-in-law of a local UNP leader was badly damaged by another political group. In retaliation UNP supporters had stoned the house of a leading supporter of the SLMC.
At Sammanthurai in a polling station at Dares-slam Vidiyalayam a PA agent was assaulted by the UNP agent with a chair when the earlier challenged a voter who attempted to impersonate.
In another incident, a school principal who is also a UNP organizer in the area was assaulted by a PA agent.Vavuniya
Polling in Vavuniya was normal and no incidents had been reported till the afternoon, said K.Ganesh the Returning Officer of the district. "About 25% voters had polled till noon" he said.Mannar
"Out of 35,000 eligible voters in Mannar area about 33% polled till afternoon" said S.M.Croos the Returning Officer in Mannar.
He said the polling in Mannar was incident free, except for a grenade blast at a house near the polling station at St. Xavier Girls School.
The police said one civilian was wounded in the incident and said the incident has not disrupted polling. Sivalingam Sathiyabama (41), the wounded is being treated at MannarJaffna
Between 20 and 30 percent of the voters in the Jaffna electoral district exercised their votes in the fourth presidential election held today, initial reports revealed soon after the polling ended.