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History of Presidential Polls: 1982 - A novel experience; 1986 - Amidst turmoil

Jan 24 (SO) Sri Lankans who enjoyed universal franchise since 1931, for the first time exercised their voting right at a presidential election on October 20, 1982. That was after Sri Lanka adopted a new Constitution in 1978 replacing the 1972 Republican Constitution shifting the executive powers from the Parliament to the President, the Head of State and the Commander in Chief of Armed Forces. more..

Intricacies of turning a fiction into a movie

Jan 24 (SO) In a wide ranging interview filmmaker Chandran Rutnam explains the intricacies involved in turning fiction into film. Citing his latest film 'Alimankada' (The Road from Elephant Pass) which was based on the Gratiaen Award winning novel by Nihal de Silva, the filmmaker spells out constraints encountered in such an exercise and how he had been faithful to the Nihal de Silva's original work. more..

Northern development drive coming to fruition

Jan 24 (SO) Spring is the time where everything starts blooming in vibrant colours. It is the time when fresh leaves start budding. It is a beautiful season that captivates the senses. Spring is not just an environmental change above. Spring is what every human being adores to be his prime! So does ‘Northern Spring’ (Wadakkin Wasantham or Uthuru Wasanthaya). more..

Malpractise watch : it’s ugly out there

Jan 24 (LB) The number of election violations have passed the 850 mark according to election monitoring bodies and the police. Many fear that unlike in the previous provincial council elections, the violence will spill into election day. Election monitors point out that despite the agreement between the general secretaries of the UPFA and UNP to cease violence, even before 24 hours passed SLFP (M) National Organizer and more..

Will the President walk the talk?

Jan 24 (LB) It is pointless reiterating what has been stated in this column in the last few weeks - - which is essentially that, though the addition of numbers seem to favour Fonseka, that the groundswell that President Rajapaksa expects from the Sinhala electorate could offset this seeming advantage. Essentially what it means is whether the Sinhala electorate is overwhelmingly with Rajapaksa or not. more..

'I tell Tamils, there is no problem - I too speak Tamil'

Jan 24 (LB) President Mahinda Rajapaksa answered questions put to him by Rajpal Abeynayake on Tuesday’s elections and a host of related issues, at President’s House in Kandy this week. We publish below the transcripts from that exchange. Q: Mr. president, how confident are you about this election. A: Can’t you see my face! I have already started working for after this. more..

'Corrupt politicos would have the door open to Welikada'

Jan 24 (LB) The Common Opposition Candidate Gen Sarath Fonseka says he will win the election by a ten per cent lead. “If the election is held today, I will win” he says. But he cautions that that there is an organized attempt to rig the election island-wide, and especially in the Jaffna peninsula, where recent transfers of military top brass have raised suspicions. more..

Presidential elections, The Sinhala mindset and the future of Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (TC) It is likely that who ever wins the ethnic problem will not be solved. The voters in the island of Sri Lanka will meet the sixth presidential elections on January 26. Though the island of Sri Lanka is a home to two nations and some minorities, its elections are often carefully directed to absorb the attention of the Sinhalese. This is mainly due to competitive nature of Sri Lanka’s electoral system and the size of the Sinhalese population. more..

Police attribute rise in violence due to political patronage given to thugs and underworld elements

Jan 24 (LB) With two more days to go for the election, election violence around the country has reached record highs this time around. Eight hundred incidents have been reported from around the country with many more going unreported. Police attribute the rise in violence to underworld elements and army deserters being involved in many incidents. more..

One is Santa, other promises to be

Jan 24 (LB) In recent years, electioneering in Sri Lanka has boiled down to two rather crude happenings - the making of often unattainable promises and the dishing out of often expensive incentives. This election is no different. Only two candidates are worth watching and one is an incumbent president with immense resources at his disposal. The other is a former army commander with no political track record but more..

Sri Lanka at Cross Roads: What a Victory for the UNF will Mean

Jan 24 (GV) It appears to be the most powerful electoral alliance that has ever been formed in the country.A political phenomenon, a coalition containing diametrically opposed political views led by someone without any formal political membership of any political party of the alliance he presides over. But how far will they march together either in their victory or defeat in the Presidential election on 26 January? more..

Nothing less than existential: Our choice at the presidential elections

Jan 24 (GV) If you can’t take my word for it, take that of Eric Hobsbawm, regarded not only as Britain’s greatest living historian but as ‘one of the outstanding historians of our age’ (Independent on Sunday). The Guardian says “Hobsbawm is one of the leading authors of the concepts and language in which all of us now discuss our situation”. It is indeed his language and concepts that help us understand why Mahinda Rajapakse is certainly my choice more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka elections

Jan 24 (AN) On Tuesday Sri Lankans will elect a president. Their choice is between the incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa who called the elections two years early in the wake of last year’s defeat of the Tamil Tigers and retired army chief Sarath Fonseka, the general who was instrumental in bringing about the rout of the rebels. This is without doubt a highly important election. The man who wins will face the immense challenge of rebuilding more..

Puttalam - Mannar widened road opens today

jan 24 (GDI) The Puttalam-Mannar road widening of nine metres constructed by the engineering division of the Navy at a cost of Rs. 1,000 million will be opened today by Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa (MP). In the early stage only heavy vehicles will be permitted to ply along this road. Accordingly the distance from Puttalam to Mannar via Medhawachchiya route is 185 kilometres. more..

Opposition Party supporter arrested with weapons

jan 24 (MoD) STF personnel arrested a supporter of the common opposition presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka with two T-56 riffles and 54 hand grenades around 7 PM today (Jan 23). Reports said several posters and propaganda material in support of UNF-TNA-JVP candidate Sarath Fonseka too were found during the raid. The items were found inside Bodhirajaramaya, a Buddhist temple at Maligawatta, more..

Bogambara Prison now being relocated under Mahinda Chintana concept - CPC Governor

jan 24 (GDI) The Government has taken steps under the Mahinda Chnithana to relocate the Bogambara Prison. This project is now in progress. It is expected to be completed in 2011, Governor Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa said at the awards distribution for Star Awards and 5 S Awards in the Central Province recently. He pointed out that there were many moves from 1972 or even before to shift the Bogambara Prisons from its present location to Pallekelle but more..

Request to make 27th Tuesady as PBM holiday

jan 24 (PSM) The govt. is requested to declare 27th Tuesday, the day after the poll day as PBM holiday. The Centre for Monitoring Free and Fair Elections and Democratic Rights (MENIKE) has appealed to the President, the Minister of Public Administration and the Commissioner of Elections to declare January 27, the day after the Presidential poll, as a Public, Bank and Mercantile holiday. more..

Website is another of Govt. ‘s dastardly frauds

Jan 24 (UNP) It has been discovered that the International website is another of Govt.’s conspiracy to sling mud and vilify Presidential candidate by the Govt., according to the General’s media unit. This website aims at misdirecting the country and voters by manufacturing special spurious news items in connection with the Presidential elections. more..

Working people will have to rely on themselves to face situation after 26th January

Jan 24 (TC) President Mahinda Rajapakse is seeking re-election for a second six-year term as Executive President. He has cut short his present term of office in order to do so, without having abolished the Executive Presidency, as he had pledged to do, before the end of his first term. What will be decided on 26th January next, therefore, is whether President Rajapakse is to continue to exercise the powers and more..

Transfer of Vavuniya Police official days before the election raises suspicion

Jan 24 (TC) CMEV learnt that the HQI of the Vavuniya Police Station, Saman Sigera, has been transferred to the welfare division of the Police Head Quarters with immediate effect from 23rd January 2010. CMEV contacted Saman Sigera on 23rd January at around 05.30 pm who said that he received a fax from the Police Head Quarters, Colombo today at around 11.30 pm instructing him to report to the Welfare Division of the Police Head Quarters with immediate effect. more..

From here to nowhere and to an ‘Ahmadinejadian’ end?

Jan 24 (GV) “We vote to get president. We get president. But where our vote, we don’t know” was a line that I had saved from a news report on the Iranian presidential polls in June 2009. What ever the man on a Teheran street wanted conveyed, it meant the presidential election results and their voting had no compatibility. What will it be here after 2010 January 26 presidential elections ? The election campaign here in SL is now “officially” over. more..

Gen. Fonseka would definitely win – Tilvin Silva

Jan 24 (LT) Apolitical Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka would definitely win at the presidential election states General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Mr. Silva said, “According to public opinion Gen. Fonseka is way ahead at the presidential poll. The General would definitely win. One matter that indicates this is the manner the government is acting at present. more..

Mud lorry released by DIG Vas Gunawardene

Jan 24 (LT) and was apprehended by Kurunegala Police yesterday evening was released by Vas Gunawardene, DIG Kurunegala and Yoshithe Rajapakse after scolding police officers say reports. Mangala Wickremanayake, HQI Kurunegala Police, in protest of the high handed act, had attempted to retire from service but other police officers had mediated and prevented him from doing so. In addition to defamatory posters and illegal ballot papers more..

'First time a Sinhala Presidential candidate is supported by Tamil Parties'

Jan 24 (UNP) Addressing a media briefing today (24) at the UNP media unit , UNP gen. Secretary Tissa Attanayke said, for the first time in SL’s political history, a Presidential candidate, a Sinhalese from the South is being extended support by the leading Tamil parties of the North. The Tamil National Alliance of the North has agreed to support Gen. Fonseka without fielding its own Tamil candidate. more..

The Colombans are a quaint lot, aren’t they?

Jan 24 (LG) I think it was that eminent lawyer and staunch nationalist Gomin Dayasri who coined the term ‘Colombians’ to refer to those individuals living in Colombo who don’t seem to have a clue about the rest of the country and erroneously believe that they know everything, are above ‘petty politics’ and the ‘riffraff’ and are somehow describable as ‘good’, ‘wise’, ‘progressive’ etc. more..

Winning the war cannot be enough any more

Jan 24 (LG) As Sri Lanka goes to the polls on Tuesday in what is one of the most decisive elections post-independence, there is one certainty for which all of us need to be thankful for regardless of whoever may be the victor. This certainty is that an almost unchallengeable juggernaut Rajapaksa Presidency has been shaken to its very marrow by the range and forcefulness of the challenges mounted against it. more..

In war Mahinda acted as India’s cats paw

Jan 24 (LG) The battle between the so called main candidates Mahinda and Sarath has become a mini civil war. Already several people have died and many have been injured. It is usual for elections to take this form in a country where class struggle developed to a high level with the proletariat challenging the entire capitalist system. Then parliamentary elections will only be a stepping stone for state power. more..

Rajapaksa vs. Fonseka

Jan 24 (LNP) There are only two days to go before the country will decide whether President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be re-elected to the office he pledged to abolish or whether the promised change offered to the electorate by General Sarath Fonseka, the contender backed by forces as disparate as the UNP and JVP, will be given the opportunity to lead this country. Both candidates have predictably forecast victory for themselves. more..

Kumana Bird sanctuary opens to public

Jan 24 (LP) The birding season has begun and bird lovers and environmentalists will very soon be afforded the opportunity of enjoying bird-life when the Kumana Bird sanctuary opens shortly. The necessary constructions are being completed and the park will be officially opened after a span of many years. Kumana situated in South is world famous as a birds' paradise. Out of the recorded 427 bird-species, 250 species are found in Sri Lanka. more..

'Tamils’ votes indispensable to send Mahinda home'

Jan 24 (TN) “The votes of Tamils are of great value in this presidential election,” Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader, R. Sampanthan said Saturday in a big election campaign meeting held Saturday around 3:00 p.m in Nalloor Chaddanaathar Koayil area, in which nearly four thousand people from various parts of the peninsula participated, sources in Jaffna said. more..

'President who was full blown at outset is totally deflated now'

Jan 24 (UNP) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing a record crowd said, the Prseident who said at the outset that he would register a 65% majority victory at the upcoming election s, has now got deflated , and is now saying he will try to win even by one vote. The Opposition leader warned the crowds that because the President is sure of losing ,all kinds of tricks are being tried out by the Govt. to win elections. more..

'Rajapkses exploited the war and plundered the victory credit'

Jan 24 (UNP) The Presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka addressing a mammoth election rally at Maradana yesterday said, our aims and objectives are coincidental with those of the people who have approved them. People trust us and our policies. The best testimony to this are the unprecedented crowds rallying round us. What is significant is that all these crowds are attending this rally braving all kinds of murder and terror tactics of the Govt. more..

The nation must decide: did or did not Mahinda Rajapaksa deliver?

Jan 24 (LG) Two days after this article is published, the nation will vote for a president. Millions will go to the polling booths and cast their vote for the candidate they believe is best suited to rule this country. It seems clear that most people have already weighed the pros and cons of the candidates, their track-records as politicians and as human beings, their manifestos, their statements, more..

TNA campaign for Fonseka fails to fire

Jan 24 (NS) The four-party TNA, which voted by a simple majority to back common opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka, however, has not been able to muster much of a campaign on his behalf in the North and East due to bulk of its members not attending the meetings for various reasons. Maverick sole Tamil presidential candidate M.K. Sivagilingam said yesterday that when signed undertakings given by Sarath Fonseka and Ranil Wickremesinghe were read out to them more..

'People want continuity'

Jan 24 (NS) M.M. Zuhair, has served as the ambassador of Sri Lanka in Iran since 2006. During his tenure he was able to assist President Rajapaksa to get unprecedented financial support from the Iranian Government. Before that he was the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. He was also a Member of Parliament from 1984 to 2000. Prior to that he served in the Attorney General’s Department as a State Counsel from 1973 to 1983. more..

President urges end to rivalries from Jan. 27

Jan 24 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in two separate interviews with the editors of Sunday newspapers on Wednesday morning in Kandy appealed to everyone to end all rivalries from Wednesday January 27 and to unite to ensure peace, democracy and further development of the country. Answering a blunt question as to whether he had not violated the constitution in not adhering to the 17th Amendment, more..

Main parties and Buddhist prelates appeal for calm and peace

Jan 24 (NS) The number of election-related incidents of violence recorded so far has topped the 800 mark, according to the election monitoring outfits. Meanwhile, The Police Election Secretariat says that about 300 suspects have already been arrested in connection with these incidents. During the last fortnight, election violence had claimed four lives. Three of them are UPFA supporters. The other victim is a supporter of General Sarath Fonseka. more..

All over bar the voting

Jan 24 (NS) After several weeks of frenzied activity, the curtain came down on the presidential election campaign at midnight yesterday. Now the nation anxiously awaits the election of the country’s sixth Executive President on Tuesday. The campaign trail has, unfortunately, not been the most desirable so far. It has been clouded by the gradual escalation of violence, resulting in several deaths already, and further marred by allegations and counter allegations that more..

Fonseka may be unknown devil or angel but he represents change

Jan 24 (TC) Was it glorious history in the making or the enactment of a comedy, tragedy or farce during the 40-day period between nominations day and elections day with just one day to go for the poll? We would know it all by Wednesday if the exasperated Elections Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake goes ahead with the election where a great majority of election laws and regulations have been blatantly violated, more..

Four-member gang threatens to kidnap Ceylinco Depositors’ Association President

Jan 24 (Island) The President of the Joint Association of Ceylinco Depositors, Ms. Anusha Emmert has complained to the police that she was threatened and intimidated by four persons who visited her Panadura residence on Friday evening. "They threatened to kidnap me and my husband if we didn’t keep silent", she said. "We were terrified". "Dennawama ussanawa", they warned in Sinhala, Ms. Emmert, badly shaken by the experience, recalled yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka’s largest sports contingent leaves for Dhaka

Jan 24 (NS) The Sri Lankan contingent to the 11th South Asian Games (SAG), comprising 204 men, 90 women and 69 officials making a total of 363 persons, will be the largest ever local squad to participate in any international event. They are ready to take part at the 11th SAG scheduled to be held from January 29 to February 9 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. team will be led by champion middle-distance athlete Chaminda Wijekoon. more..

'KP–President secret deal behind release of 3 key LTTE activists'

Jan 24 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe accused the government of releasing from custody three key LTTE activists under a secret deal reached between K. P. Pathmanathan (KP) and Mahinda Rajapaksa. Claiming that LTTE’s self-styled "Colonel" Ram was amongst those freed from detention, he expressed concern that this terrorist could be used to cause harm to key members supporting Gen. (Retd) Fonseka or may be to the candidate himself. more..

75,000 farmer families face doom as poultry industry on verge of sinking

Jan 24 (Island) Price control for poultry meat has pushed this vital industry into a pig-in-a-pork situation. The poultry industry, primary income earner among 75,000 farmer families, has now been damned to destruction accentuating dire circumstances likely to overtake these farmers. Although at face value this seems relatively insignificant in actual value depreciation families affected would increase in geometric progression to more..

Both Rajapakse and Fonseka following strategy of "Indirect Approach" in electoral war

Jan 24 (TC) Both President Rajapaksa and General Fonseka appear to be following the strategy of ‘indirect approach’ in their “electoral war.” Sir Basil Liddell Hart, one of the great military thinkers of 20th century propounded this key military concept as early as 1929. In his famous work The Decisive Wars of History he explained the indirect approach as seeking more..

Lanka at crossroads, looks for statesman

Jan 24 (ST) The country goes to the polls on Tuesday to choose its President for the next six years. It is these elections that make the 'King' and the wannabes have been crisscrossing the country soliciting the people's vote. Elections are, probably next only to death, the great equalizer. Whether a man or woman has a million rupees or nary a cent, however high or low in the social hierarchy; whether employed or not, he or she has one vote. more..

Note on Voting at Presidential Elections

Jan 24 (Island) This note for purposes of voter education is compiled by the Friday Forum, a gathering of concerned citizens which includes many elders. The Forum prepared this document because it observed that many citizens, irrespective of the level of education, are not fully aware of the voting method at presidential elections. This simple step by step guide, we hope, will be of help. more..

Ranil promises tough anti-graft laws by February

Jan 24 (Island) The UN Convention Against Corruption to which Sri Lanka is a party will be enacted, if necessary even as emergency regulations, to bring before the law persons responsible for bribery and corruption in the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe warned last week. "This will be one of our top priorities when more..

Country faces moment of truth

Jan 24 (ST) For a nation reputed in Asia for its independent electoral process, give or take a few omissions or commissions, the news was more than disconcerting. "I will resign my post after the polls," Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake told representatives of candidates contesting Tuesday's Presidential Election. He vowed not to step into the Department of Elections once he had completed his administrative responsibilities. more..

One million poll cards not delivered

Jan 24 (ST) Nearly one million poll cards were left undelivered in post offices over the weekend as the deadline for the delivery ended, officials said yesterday. The Northern Province had the largest number of undelivered poll cards with more than 300,000 still stacked up in post offices, they said. Of a total of 876,633 poll cards, 566,857 had been delivered in the districts of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna by Thursday. more..

India wants to open Consulate in Jaffna

Jan 24 (Island) India wants to open a consulate in Jaffna, The Sunday Island has learnt from top sources here. A request to this effect was conveyed to the Sri Lankan Government shortly after the end of the so-called Eelam War IV, which concluded with the killing of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in May last year. India appears prepared and willing to render whatever assistance Sri Lanka needs and more..