No foreign observers for Jaffna polls

[TamilNet, Friday, 09 January 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Election monitors from two Sri Lankan NGO networks, Peoples Action for a Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) and Movement for Free and Fair Election (MFFE) arrived in Jaffna today. The seven member team, which flew into Jaffna, is expected to meet the Jaffna Journalist Association on Sunday and the Tamil groups contesting the local government elections.

The election monitors will observe the run up to the election and the polls itself scheduled for January 29. There will be no foreign election observers for the polls said Jaffna NGO sources who are coordinating the work of the two monitoring bodies in the peninsula.

A meeting to discuss the final day of canvassing and other matters related to the forthcoming local government election in the north is scheduled to be held at the Jaffna police station on Sunday, said sources in Jaffna.

Senior police officers and leaders of the Tamil groups contesting the election are expected to discuss the issuing of special identity cards to election canvassers, problems arising from the presence of armed groups in the islands off the Jaffna peninsula and how such obstacles could be overcome.

There have been a series of complaints by the Tamil groups contesting elections in the north against the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) which is accused of intimidating rival candidates with its armed cadres as well as by instigating some local thugs against them.

Last night, members of the Democratic Peoples Liberation Front (DPLF) gave up canvassing at Karainagar in Jaffna after the Karainagar home of one them was stoned said sources in Jaffna.

Following the incident, the DPLF members arrived in Jaffna protesting that they could not work in Karainagar.

The EPDP considers the islands off the Jaffna peninsula as its preserve. The Sri Lankan navy has major base on Karainagar island.


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