Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sri Lanka Election Secretariat says no computer manipulation of votes

Jan 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka Election Secretariat has dismissed the allegations by the opposition parties that computer manipulation of votes took place during the counting process of last Tuesday's presidential election, the Island newspaper reported.

The common opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka and the opposition parties that backed him, the United National Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna have alleged that the government and the election staff had manipulated the results to help incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa to win the election with a majority of 1.8 million votes.

The Island quoting Bandula Kulatunga, a consultant to the Elections Secretariat said that that counting of ballot papers was done manually though computers, too, were used in the process. According to the official, the computers have been used in addition to the manual counting.

The official asserted that manipulating the results would have not been possible and that the election staff had also allowed recounts.

Kulatunga has emphasized that results of each counting centre had been made available to the counting agents of the three top candidates, who obtained the highest number of votes at a particular centre.

According to the official the major parties were fully aware of the situation and their representatives had been present at all counting facilities to ensure transparency.

Sri Lanka Election Commissioner prior to the election assured that every possible measure had been taken to ensure a free and fair election.

The opposition parties have made claims that there were votes rigging and malpractices at the counting centers after the international as well as local election monitors concluded that the elections were free and fair.

Political analysts however point out that the incumbent President won with a huge margin, nearly 2 million votes and rigging such a huge margin is impossible.

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