Eastern provice more prone to violence: Monitors
July 6, 2012
Election monitors said yesterday that among the three provinces where elections would be held soon the Eastern Province was expected to be more vulnerable to election related violence.

Monitors said the candidates contesting the elections for the Eastern Provincial Council were expected to project their ethnicity as a means of gathering support. They said the use and abuse of state resources by ruling party candidates could not be ruled out.

The monitors recalled that the area was prone to violence even at the previous elections, which was the first to be held after the war ended in 2009.

Campaign for a Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon said the composition of the various communities in the province makes for the volatility in the area.

“There is no clear majority between the Muslim and Tamil population in the province and candidates have always projected their ethnicity to garner support,” he said and added that several instances of election related violence had been reported from North Central Province as well during the previous election campaign period.

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said the candidates and the manner in which they conduct their election campaigning would be a decider where violence was concerned.

PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said when taking what had happened before candidates appear to represent not only their party but their ethnicity as well.“We have asked the Elections Chief to set up a mechanism to create more transparency with regard to complaints and election monitoring,” Mr. Hettiarachchi said and added that they would obtain the support of religious leaders to help discourage violence and campaigns based on ethnicity.

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Co- Convener Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu said concentrate more on the Eastern Province as it was more prone to ethnic based violence.

Elections are to be held to the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provincial Councils in September. The handing in of nominations will begin on Monday.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka