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Election law violations: Police to take stern action

Jan 26 (DN) Police warned that stern action will be taken against election law violators and requested the public to assist the Police and Security Forces to hold a free and fair election. Over 68,000 police personnel have been deployed for election duties today, sources said. Around 85,000 police personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order during the Presidential race, while 68,000 will be involved in election duty. more..

President calls for democratic and peaceful poll

Jan 26 (DN) I respectfully call upon our people to safeguard democracy and the dignity of the Motherland by united, resolute, calm and peaceful behaviour to ensure Sri Lanka’s position in the community of nations as one that respects human rights and protects democracy, states President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a statement on the eve of the Presidential Election. “All instructions have been given by me for the maintenance of law and order,” the President said. more..

Govt committed to fair poll

Jan 26 (DN) As the campaigning for the Presidential Election, scheduled for today has come to a close, the Government is aware of the considerable interest abroad in the first such election in which the entire country can participate freely, since the decisive defeat of terrorism in the country in May last year, the Government said in a release yesterday. The statement added: “Having restored peace to the country after 30 years of terrorism, more..

Archbishop thanks President

Jan 26 (DN) Colombo Archbishop Most Rev. Malcolm Ranjith on Sunday thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government for their sincere dedication towards the welfare of all communities and religions in the country and invoked the blessings of St. Anthony on them for their good work. The Archbishop expressed these sentiments when President Rajapaksa offered him the title deed of a small plot of state land donated to more..

Presidential Polls: 14 million voters, 22 candidates, 11,000 polling centres

Jan 26 (Island) Nearly 250,000 government servants will be on duty for today’s 6th Presidential Election to be conducted for the first time islandwide, including the Northern and Eastern Provinces, after the conclusion of war on terrorism ended in May last year. There are 22 candidates in the fray, including incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Army Chief, General (Retd.) Sarath Fonseka, the two main contenders. more..

Lawyers, ex-SC judges to protect polls duty officials

Jan 26 (Island) The Lawyers for Democracy (LFD) said they would stand by all public servants, including police and armed forces personnel, on election duty today (to maintain and carry out their duties in accordance with the law. Coordinator of the Programme for the LFD, Lal Wijenayake said yesterday that those who are victimised or harassed for performing their duties according to the election law could complain to the LDF and the latter would pursue action on behalf of the victims. more..

Private sector outperforms public sector

Jan 26 (Island) With the main presidential candidates going into today’s elections promising wage increases to the public sector, latest data shows that the private sector industries outperform public sector industries as the private sector industrial production index recorded positive growth while the index of the public sector declined. The Public Sector Major Industrial Output Index decreased by 15.4 percent from 100.2 points in October 2008 to 84.8 points in October 2009, more..

Mahinda, Sarath face moment of truth

Jan 26 (Island) As widely anticipated in the run-up to today’s presidential polls, former SLFP leader and President Chandrika Kumaratunga threw her weight behind Opposition candidate, General (retired) Sarath Fonseka. Fonseka, after paying a floral tribute at the Bandaranaike Samadhi, met Mrs. Kumaratumga at her ancestral home at Horagolla, Nittambuwa. more..

A nation in transit

Jan 26 (DM) Smug complacency is always bad. Sometimes it’s the worst thing that can happen to a country. One therefore wonders whether Sri Lanka should count its blessings over the fact that it has always been a nation in transit. We have throughout been a nation of - ‘what’s next’. There have been so many drastic policy changes, conflicts, coup attempts and even a full-scale war post- independence and somehow we have survived it all. more..

'Polls officials like tigers without teeth'

Jan 26 (DM) The Election Department said yesterday it had no control over the publicity campaigns still being conducted by the presidential candidates although campaigning had to end by midnight on Saturday. Sri Lanka’s election law states that publicity or promotion of election candidates in whatever form must cease 48 hours prior to an election. However, billboards and posters of the two main candidates are still prominently displayed in many places in the country. more..

Only 5 percent voted in Jaffna till noon

Jan 26 (TN) In Jaffna, only 5 percent voting took place until noon Tuesday and 25 percent may vote all together, reports from Jaffna said citing election officials. In the meantime, 30 percent turnout was registered in Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampaa'rai, where turnout is expected to reach 60 percent. Ki'linochchi and Mullaiththeevu registered the lowest voting between one and two percent until noon. more..

CID request to search Wijeya Biyagama press refused

Jan 26 (DM) The Colombo Magistrate’s Court yesterday refused to issue warrants sought by the CID to search the office of opposition United National Front leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and a Wijeya newspaper group printing press at Biyagama. Additional Magistrate Chandani Meegoda turned down the application filed on Saturday evening by the CID which alleged that illegal weapons were being hidden at the police guard post more..

CID looks for Fonseka’s top aide

Jan 26 (DM) The CID has summoned Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s top aide and Secretary Dr. Senaka Arnold Haripriya de Silva to appear for an interview this morning. CID says the weapons in the possession of Ven. Sumana Thera who was arrested recently were transported using a vehicle registered under the name of De Silva. According to the letter addressed to de Silva from the CID he is to be questioned on the “sanctioning of the transportation of illegal weapons.” more..

Fonseka dispels rumors over his vote

Jan 26 (DM) Common opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka speaking to Daily Mirror Online a short while ago said that he was fully qualified to contest the Presidential Elections although he could not cast his vote at the elections today. General Sarath Fonseka said that although he had registered himself in the 2008 voter registration list he had not been granted a vote. more..

Polls Chief says Fonseka eligible

Jan 26 (DM) Elections Commissioner Dayananada Dissanayaka released a statement a short while ago stating that a candidate need not be a registered voter nor cast his vote in order to be eligible to run for office and thereby Sarath Fonseka is eligible to run for the post. State media had earlier reported that Fonseka was not eligible to vote as he was a US citizen and was also not qualified to run for Presidency. General Fonseka however said the claims were baseless.

Govt. carries out false propaganda regarding my citizenship – Gen. Fonseka

Jan 26 (LT) As the final moments of the presidential election approaches the government is spreading false information stating that he did not have citizenship says apolitical Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Making a special statement to the media Gen. Fonseka said the political bankruptcy of those who spread such falsehoods is well exposed by such attempts. “I applied to enter my name for the 2008 electoral lists. But unfortunately it has not been entered. more..

Sri Lanka's crucial vote: The President vs. the General

Jan 26 (Time) Some people may celebrate Jan. 26, 2010, at Sri Lanka's first post–civil war presidential election — the island nation ended the 26-year-long conflict last May — but the advent of the poll has brought out deep tension, division and several alarming incidents of violence. "There is this foreboding sense that things could turn really bad," Keerthi Thenakoon, the chief executive of the election-monitoring body CaFFE, more..

Long queues as Sri Lankans cast votes

Jan 26 (CNN) Elderly ladies with canes hobble up to the line in the scorching sun. They stand alongside voters half their age at a polling station just outside the Sri Lankan capital. All are showing the same determination to do their civic duty and vote in the first presidential election since the end of the country's near 26-year civil war. Voters here will wait about 35 minutes to cast ballots because the lines are so long. more..

The NSSP’s naked electoral cretinism

Jan 26 (wsws) The Sri Lankan presidential election has underscored the unbridgeable class gulf that exists between the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), and the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) and all other former radical organisations. The SEP is campaigning to educate and mobilise the working class on the basis of a socialist program, warning that the next government will launch an onslaught on living standards whether President Mahinda Rajapakse or General Sarath Fonseka wins the election. more..

Sri Lankan election sets stage for deep political crisis

Jan 26 (wsws) Sri Lanka’s presidential election, which culminates with today’s national vote, has been marred by violence and bitter charges and counter-charges from the two principal candidates—the incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse and his rival, the former army chief Sarath Fonseka. Both candidates appear to be preparing to proclaim victory and/or charge ballot-rigging, resulting in a contested election result and a political-constitutional crisis. more..

Sri Lanka elections: A choice of no choice at all?

Jan 26 (LM) The run up to Sri Lanka’s first democratic exercise in a post war environment has not proved very different from every other election conducted in the country over the recent past. The race between incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse and former army chief Sarath Fonseka has been marred by incidents of election violence (including 5 deaths), allegations of wide scale corruption, intimidation and mud slinging. more..

Bitter rivals vie for Sri Lanka presidency

Jan 26 (BBC) Sri Lankans have voted in the country's first presidential election since Tamil rebels were defeated after more than 25 years of civil war. Voting was generally peaceful amid tight security. There were minor blasts in the northern Tamil city of Jaffna. President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces a close contest against his main rival, former army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka. more..

Sri Lanka northern polling low: monitors

Jan 26 (LBO) Polling in Sri Lanka's north was estimated to be about 15 to 20 percent and in the east about 50 percent while the rest of the country had higher turnouts by early afternoon, a poll monitoring group said. Rohana Hettiarachchi from PAFREL, an election monitoring body, said outside the north and east about 60 percent of registered electors or more had declared their votes by early afternoon. more..

Sri Lanka's Tamils trudge to polls in first post-war election

Jan 26 (AFP) Kandaswamy Wellarayanam, 73, walked four miles to vote in Sri Lanka's election from a state camp where displaced Tamils were locked up after the war last year. Now able to move freely, he said he and his wife, daughter and two grandchildren were eager to take part, even though buses that were meant to transport them never turned up. "We walked to vote because we felt it was important after the war," he said. more..

SL polls: Advantage Rajapaksa

Jan 26 (EB) An Indian firm specialising in political surveys, predicts that the incumbent President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, will win the Sri Lankan Presidential election on Tuesday by a small margin. A spokesperson of the New Delhi-based Viplav Communications, which had conducted a survey in Sri Lanka for Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Colombo University, said he had “no doubt” that Rajapaksa would win. more..

Out of war's shadow, Sri Lankans vote for president

Jan 26 (Reuters) Two former allies who led Sri Lanka to victory in a 25-year civil war duelled at the ballot box on Tuesday after a bitter, personal campaign for the country's first peacetime presidential vote in nearly three decades. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and General Sarath Fonseka are the rivals in a close contest in which the defeat of the LTTE in May has more..

Sri Lanka war victors vie in presidential poll

Jan 26 (AP) Sri Lankans crowded polling stations Tuesday throughout Colombo in a hard-fought election to decide whether the incumbent president or his former army chief should lead the nation's recovery from a brutal civil war both men helped win. However, there was less enthusiasm for the poll in minority Tamil areas most affected by the fighting, and early morning explosions in the city of Jaffna more..

Twist of fate for Tamils

Jan 26 (TS) Regime change is in the air in Sri Lanka. But culture change is what Sri Lanka needs most. Today, after 28 years of civil war and 100,000 lives lost, some 14 million Sri Lankans are once again fighting it out – armed this time with their proverbial ballots, not bullets. Possibly Sri Lanka – a country so many Tamil Canadians feel connected to, and yet alienated from – will be changed by today's presidential elections. more..

Sri Lanka presidential race is a bruiser

Jan 26 (LAT) Two months ago, when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa called today's early election, the contest looked like a pushover. A few jabs for the camera at 90-pound weakling opponents, a ceremonial dance around the ring. Then the hugely popular leader would declare victory. Instead, this has turned into a slugfest royale. The difference has been the emergence of an unexpected challenger, fellow national hero and former army commander Sarath Fonseka, more..

Canadian pair get 25 years in US Tamil case

Jan 26 (NP) Two Canadians were sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday for attempting to buy heat-seeking missiles and military assault rifles for Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers rebels. Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam and Sahilal Sabaratnam were sentenced in U.S. District Court in New York, where they were caught in 2006 trying to buy Russian SA-18 missiles and AK-47s. They pleaded guilty last January. more..

Battle for Lanka Part 3

Battle for Lanka Part 2

Battle for Lanka Part 1

Sri Lanka braces for post-election violence

Jan 26 (Age) Sri Lanka was on edge last night as voters braced for violent clashes in the wake of the first presidential election since the end of the country's bloody civil war. The bitter campaign has been marred by conflict between supporters of the two main candidates, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former army chief General Sarath Fonseka. People casting their votes in Colombo told The Age they expected more bloodshed once the booths closed and counting started. more..

Peaceful polling in Presidential election

Jan 26 (Hindu) More than 50 cent of the 14 million plus voters had exercised their franchise for the sixth Sri Lankan presidential election after six hours of polling around 1 p.m. Given the high stakes involved for the incumbent President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, seeking a second term, two years ahead of his first tenure, and the opposition consensus nominee and his main opponent, Retired General Fonseka, more..

Many Sri Lankan women cast votes to select new President

Jan 26 (CE) The tense situation, where a few bombs blew off in Jaffna Tuesday morning, eased later and over 70 percent of Sri Lankans cast their votes to select one of the war heroes -- President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his main rival, former Army Commander General (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka - as the sixth president. Rajapaksa called the election two years ahead of schedule to capitalize on his popularity more..

Sri Lankans go to the polls

Jan 26 (Guardian) Voting has passed off peacefully in Sri Lanka's first presidential election since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, as the country awaits tomorrow's result after an acrimonious and at times violent campaign. Following weeks of frantic campaigning by the two main presidential candidates, an eerie calm enveloped the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, today. The streets were quieter than usual, with less traffic and bustle, as voters visited polling stations from 7am. more..

Election a last chance for healing

Jan 26 (IRIN) Sri Lanka's first post-war election may not deliver any substantial improvement in healing long-lasting divides between the country's majority Singalese and minority Tamal communities unless the winner institutes substantive power sharing. Neither of the frontrunners, incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa, nor his main challenger, former army commander Sarath Fonseka, has offered any concrete measures on how to address these issues after the 26 January poll. more..

Sri Lanka votes in tense post-war election

Jan 26 (AFP) Sri Lankans voted under tight security in their first post-war presidential election on Tuesday amid claims of violence and voter intimidation after a bitter and highly personal campaign. Both sides said they expected to emerge victorious when results are announced Wednesday and blamed each other for a series of election-day attacks, which one monitoring group said might number 150 in total. more..

Debreif News - 26. 01. 2010

Sri Lanka votes during a bitter peace

Jan 27 (WSJ) Sri Lankans voted Tuesday in the first national election since the defeat of separatist Tamil rebels, choosing between the two architects of the insurgents' annihilation during what is shaping up to be a bitter peace. The fiercely contested race between incumbent, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and retired Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the former army chief, exposed how deep the ethnic divide remains in Sri Lanka after more than a quarter century of civil strife more..

Liberal link to Sarath Fonseka campaign

Jan 27 (TA) A Sarath Fonseka-led government would help stem the tide of Sri Lankan refugees seeking asylum in Australia and boost investment ties between the two nations, according to Liberal Party deputy federal director James McGrath. Mr McGrath has been quietly working on the Sri Lankan opposition coalition's campaign since December, conducting focus polls and conceiving the 10-point pledge that has helped catapult the country's former army chief into a winnable position. more..

Sri Lanka heads for contested election result

Jan 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's government said it would contest the legitimacy of the main opposition candidate in Tuesday's presidential vote, setting up a clash that threatens new instability on the war-torn island. Sarath Fonseka, a former four-star general, took on his former boss, incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse, in the vote after a bitter and personal campaign that saw both sides accuse the other of planning foul play. more..

NE vote: few incidents but peaceful

Jan 27 (BBC) For the first time following a thirty year long war, voters in the north and the east of Sri Lanka have been casting their vote despite few incidents of violence. The voters were deciding between twenty-two candidates. But the main contenders are the current president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and General Sarath Fonseka, who led the army to victory against the Tamil Tigers last year. more..

A fresh start for Sri Lanka?

Jan 27 (BBC) Twenty years ago I stood next to a railway line in northern Sri Lanka and watched as members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ripped up the track. They were using the wood and steel to build bunkers, digging in for the long haul. Civil war was returning and the link between north and south was being broken. It would remain so for a generation, at a cost of tens of thousands of lives. But now the Tamil Tigers have been smashed. more..

Websites blocked just hours before poll results due to be announced

Jan 27 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders condemns the imposition of additional restrictions on online free expression in Sri Lanka as the country held a presidential election today. Access to the independent news websites Lankaenews, Lankanewsweb, Infolanka and Sri Lanka Guardian have been blocked by the country's main Internet Service Provider. "The authorities blocked access to several independent websites just hours before more..

Fonseka in hot water

Jan 27 (EB) The joint opposition candidate Gen.Sarath Fonseka, found himself in hot water when he told the media that he could not vote in the election on Tuesday, because he had no vote! But before Fonseka’s statement could do much political damage, the Elections Commissioner, issued a statement saying that not being on the voters’ list was not a disqualification for contesting the Presidential election. more..

Eligible to lead nation: Fonseka

Jan 27 (Hindu) It would go down as the irony of the 2010 Sri Lankan presidential election. Much to the disbelief and amusement of the people, just an hour before the polling was to close it was discovered that common opposition candidate retired General Sarath Fonseka is not registered as a voter. All through the day, journalists were kept in suspense when and where the commander-turned-politician would cast his vote. more..

Government authorities fail to address voter rights of IDPs and other Northern residents

Jan 27 (TC) CMEV was informed that approximately 24,000 IDPs presently living in government run camps and with host families were also registered on the 2008 electoral register. Out of this number, 16,000 IDPs applied to cast their vote within the Vavuniya district while 8,000 were eligible to cast their vote in areas such as the Killinochchi district at today’s Presidential election. more..

Provincial-wide update on Election Day violence and law breaking

Jan 27 (TC) Batticaloa District: Kalkudah Electroate: SLMC supporter Mr. Mohamad Ismail was attacked by a group of UPFA supporters at around 10:55 am about 20m away from the Oddamavadi Central College Polling Station (Polling Centre 69). CMEV spoke to Mr Ismail, who informed CMEV that he had been hit by members of the group, resulting in injuries to his face, left leg and right hand. more..