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.

>> Full Story

Defeating Fonseka: The Final Blow for the LTTE

By Dr. Stephen Long, Los Angeles, California

My last article about Sri Lanka was entitled, “Is Sri Lanka Crazy Enough to Elect a Retired General as President?” Yesterday’s election answered that question with a resounding “No!” It actually answered a number of questions with a resounding “No!” Here are a few of those questions:

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who was a convicted rapist, serial womanizer, and alleged wife beater?” That’s what I like: a role model for the nation’s youth.

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who was a national hero last May, and became a traitor in November?” Another inspirational role model for the kids.

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who was duped into being a puppet for the traitor Ranil, the next ‘Executive Prime Minister,’ according to his statement during a recent interview on GTV, a Tamil network in Europe’?” He thought no one was watching.

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who, in his ignorance of geography, offered free land that doesn’t exist for every newborn – forever?” Come on, General, do the math!

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who is so arrogant and fiscally-irresponsible (not to mention patronizing) that he would promise high raises for everyone in the country – in both private and public sectors?” Once again, General, do the math!

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who had a son-in-law who, under his aegis, illegally sold weapons to both the LTTE and the Army – and pocketed millions for the family coffers?” Do I hear the word “hypocrisy” anyone? Kinda makes me laugh – or hiccup – or is that “Hicorp”?

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who tried to bribe MP’s in order to gain their support?” This is so hypocritical it makes me want to roll around on the floor.

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who threatened to put his own officers in jail because they came forward with embarrassing information against him?” Earth to General: read Dale Carnegie.

“Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who lied when he said the Defence Secretary gave orders to kill LTTE cadres who waved the white flag?” Someone quickly get the fire extinguisher; the General’s pants are blazing!

This last question is the most critical: “Is Sri Lanka willing to elect someone as President who, because of backroom promises, would leave the barn door wide open for the LTTE to re-group and start the terrorist war all over again?”

There are many more questions like this – the list is a long one – to which the electorate wisely said “No!”

In a conversation I had this morning with my wise, analytical, and insightful friend, Ven. Maitepe Wimilasara, he said, “Fonseka’s defeat is the final end of the war with the LTTE. They’re finished for good.” I have to agree with him. If Fonseka had won the election the horror would have begun again, and we wouldn’t have President Rajapakse to defeat them. A resurgence of the LTTE would have been pure delight for the Diaspora supporters overseas, the Tamil Nadu political leadership, and the LTTE remnant still licking its wounds and hiding somewhere in Sri Lanka – just waiting for the right opportunity to pounce. Sorry Charlie; no more pouncing.

Yes, I believe it’s finally over, and we’re all grateful beyond measure.

I offer my heart-felt congratulations to President Rajapakse for winning his re-election – just as I congratulated him for winning the war against the terrorists when I was in Sri Lanka last May. I know the President to be a good man who is just, fair, highly-intelligent, and sincere about his love for the people he is privileged to govern.

By the way, I have a list of important questions for him, too. I hope he will answer “Yes!” to all of them very soon, and not be offended by my asking.

“Mr. President, are you willing to really put a stop to corruption in your administration – I mean really stop it?”

“Mr. President, are you willing to give key Government positions to men and women who are truly qualified – and fire people you hired for purely political reasons, like the accountant in charge of the Central Bank, and the Mercedes-betting gangster at the Labor Ministry who is a constant source of embarrassment for you?”

“Mr. President, are you going to arrest Fonseka’s son-in-law and see that he is tried for illicit weapons trading – and prove that Fonseka was behind the whole charade?”

“Mr. President, are you willing to mend fences with the Western Powers by allowing appropriate investigations for alleged war crimes, and claims of abuses of power and interference with the media?” I admired you for sticking to your guns last May and insisting that the Western Powers mind their own business. It’s time now, though, to shake hands and work it out.

Finally, “Mr. President, are you willing to respond calmly and wisely the next time you are confronted by Fonseka and his misguided and mismatched political cronies?” I ask this question because they are not going to go away just because they lost an election. Ranil, for one, has had a taste for power and has proven that he will stop at nothing to get it back.

In conclusion, I am confident that President Rajapakse will have “Yes!” answers to all of these important questions, and that the next six years of his administration will bring peace, prosperity, and many tourists to your beautiful land. After all, nearly 60% of the electorate gave him this mandate with these expectations.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Landslide for President Rajapaksa

Sweeping victories for President Rajapaksa in Sinhala-dominated areas while Fonseka wins in North and East

President Mahinda Rajapaksa swept to a landslide victory at Tuesday’s presidential election polling 57.88 per cent of the votes cast.

Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka who announced the final results last evening said President Rajapaksa had polled 6,015,934 of the votes while his main rival, common opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka obtained 4,173,185 votes. Mr. Rajapaksa was re-elected as President with a majority of 1,842,749 votes.

A significant feature at this election was that President Rajapaksa recorded sweeping victories in almost all the Sinhala-dominated polling divisions while General Fonseka won the North, East and the hill country that have a significant Tamil and Muslim population.

President Rajapaksa who contested under the ‘Betel leaf’ symbol received more than double the votes received by General Fonseka in the polling divisions of Karandeniya, Wellawaya, Mulkirigala, Monaragala, Devinuwara, Kamburupitiya, Hakmana, Eheliyagoda, Deniyaya, Bulathsinhala, Agalawatta, Bentara-Elpitiya, Tangalle, Tangalle, Dambulla, Kolonna, Galgamuwa, Mihintale, Anuradhapura, Kalawewa, Medawachchiya and Gampaha.

For instance in the polling division of Medawachchiya, President Rajapaksa polled 35,996 votes or 69.25 per cent while General Fonseka only polled 14,971 or 28.80 per cent of the votes. In Karandeniya the President received 34,809 votes or 71 per cent while at Wellawaya he received 68,310 votes or 70 per cent.

General Fonseka who contested under the ‘Swan’ symbol won several polling divisions in Colombo including Colombo East and West, the North and the East including Jaffna, Mutur, KKS, Mullaithivu, Samanthurai, Point Pedro, Mannar, Negombo, Haputale, Passara, Borella, Kandy and Galle.

In the postal voting, General Fonseka won the Districts of Jaffna and Batticaloa while President Rajapaksa won all other districts.

Though General Fonseka performed well in Colombo, President Rajapaksa won the District in the final result recording an overall 614,740 votes or 52.93 per cent when compared with General Fonseka’s 533,022 votes or 45.90 per cent.

President Rajapaksa won easily at Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Puttalam and Polonnaruwa polling 582,784 (63.08%), 298,448 (66.32%) 201,981 (58.70%) and 144,889 (64.92%) respectively.

Rajapaksa also won the Districts of Badulla – 237,597, Galle - 386,971, Gampaha – 718,716, Kalutara – 412,562, Kegalle- 296,639, Kandy – 406,636, Monaragala – 158,435, Hambantota- 226,887, Matara – 296,155, and Ratnapura – 377,734.

General Fonseka took the Districts of Batticaloa – 146,057, Digamadulla – 153,105, Nuwara – Eliya 180,604, Jaffna – 113,877, Trincomalee- 87,661 and Wanni 70,367.

Tuesday’s presidential election was one of the keenly fought elections in recent times and it will go down in history as the first presidential election held in a post war Sri Lanka.

President Rajapaksa seeking a new mandate from the people pledged to make Sri Lanka one of the success stories in Asia by transforming it as the region’s trade, naval, air, IT and knowledge hub.

General Fonseka sought a mandate to make a regime change and promised to take Sri Lanka to new heights by putting an end to alleged corruption and waste and pledged to do away with the executive presidency and to implement the 17th Amendment.

Election monitors, Peoples Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) and the Camaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) said that overall the election was held in a free and fair manner with only a handful of minor incidents reported.

They conceded that no major incidents that could have affected the final results of the election were reported on January 26.

A Big Thank You

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, yesterday that he was pleased to take the opportunity to thank all those who trusted and gave him a resounding victory.

This is Mr. Rajapakse’s second term.

Reminding that it was the first National Election held after the elimination of terrorism the President mentioned that the people of North and East came forward to cast their votes without fear and doubt.

He says that it was a free and fair election and that was why the victory gained cannot be blemished by anyone.

He added that the victory is complete and that it is a victory which proves how grateful the people of the country were about the peace they got and that it is a victory for the people who love this country and one which can help them to have a sigh of relief.

Real victory was born only when there was no one defeated.

“We must think that this victory belongs to all of us.”

He says that he invites all to share the fruits of the victory peacefully.

In front of the law all are equal. Remember that the one who protects law is protected by the law. All must unite. The future is for prosperity.

He says that he would give a law abiding country, a developed country, a country with good governance.

He would deliver a future with all those for the future generation and for motherland.

>> Full Story: Daily Mirror

Fonseka returns to his residence

The Hindu: The high drama staged by retired General Sarath Fonseka, main opponent of the incumbent President who was declared elected for a second time with a huge margin and the defeated candidate in the Sri Lanka Presidential election, ended on a tame note late on Wednesday night after the former chose to return to his residence from a local hotel where he had taken shelter.

Hours after the counting commenced, Gen. (retd) Fonseka had checked into a local hotel in the early hours of Wednesday citing security concerns. Taking advantage of the presence of a large contingent of the international media here, he accused Mr. Rajapaksa of 'stealing the election' and 'plotting to eliminate him'.

Ironically, the questioning of the legitimacy of the outcome of the presidential election was not shared with equal enthusiasm by the opposition parties that backed him to the hilt in the course of the six week long intense campaign. Besides, the 'discovery' that the retired General had not deemed it necessary to enrol himself as a voter and its adverse impact among the people seems to have clearly embarrassed his supporters from the opposition ranks.

The issue is particularly delicate for every one as the island nation is to witness a general election in the month of April. Two reasons seem to have compelled Gen. (retd) Fonseka to end the hotel show. Sections of the opposition leaders are believed to have counselled him to act with restraint as any further rash moves by him would adversely impact their prospects in the forthcoming parliamentary election.

Besides, Mr. Rajapaksa sought to defuse the situation by his comment, in response to questions about his first informal interaction with the media that the retired General is free to contact him to discuss any issues related to security. "What is his problem? He can always get in touch me. After all he was my former Army Chief," he quipped, when asked about the issue of threat to his life raised by the commander turned politician.

>> Full Story

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

An Easy Decision

With only 1 day le­­ft until Election Day, we have a choice.

We are certain of our victory.

Should we sit back and relax?

Or should we make sure that critical VOTES go to our Mahinda Rajapaksa
on January 26th.

Now is the time to help get out the VOTE -- this is our chance to make sure that our country is on the right path for development.

We have come a long way in the past four years. We achieved peace and started massive development drive throughout the country. Achieving all this was not easy but it was all possible because we came together as a nation.

Many of you have asked what else you can do to help, and we appreciate that. At this time, you can talk to your neighbors and friends. You can call your mother or father. Make sure they know the importance of VOTING for "President Mahinda."

Now that we're in the final, crucial days of this campaign, letting up is simply not an option. If supporters like you make sure that voters go to the polls, we're going to win with a great majority on the 26th.

We have to take advantage of this historic opportunity to build a brighter future:

By working together,
all of us can accomplish extraordinary things.
Thank you for everything you're doing...

Mahinda Rajapaksa Campaign 2010

>> Full Story

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rajapaksa's sure victory at coming election

Government of Sri Lanka warn the public about possible post election violence stage managed by the opposition to belittle the sure victory of president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the presidential election on 27 Jan.

According to the police sources, strict security measures have been implemented to prevent such situations. With the available information, likely violent situations are expected in Colombo suburbs, the sources added

According to government authorities, the opposition have specifically planned their attacks in Kelaniya and Gampaha areas in order to exploit the prevailing tense political atmosphere in the areas. The ease of putting blame on the government for violence is the reason for opposition to select these areas, said the sources.

Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel yesterday found two T-56 riffles , 54 hand grenades , a pistol, and large number of live ammunition from a Buddhist Temple , at Maligawatte, Colombo. The head monk, who is also a strong supporter of opposition candidate S. Fonseka was taken to custody. Propaganda materials in support of Fonseka, such as posters, handbills, caps and also few cyanide capsules used by LTTE cadres were among the other things found by the STF personnel during the raid.

Meanwhile, state owned media today exposed about a letter sent to the United National Party (UNP) members asking them to do whatever they want to ensure victory for the party. According to the sources, a letter signed by Mr. Themiya Hurulle distributed among district managers and electorate organizers has carried this message
>> Full Story

Jackson Anthony speech to support Mahinda Rajapaksa for presidentiol election 2010

>> Full Story

LTTE Terrorists Honoured at Fonska Rally - Jaffna

An election rally organised in support of UNF-TNA-JVP presidential candidate Sararth Fonseka this evening (JAN 23) in Jaffna, observed 5 minutes silence to honour the dead LTTE Terrorists. The meeting which is still in progress at Sattadar Kovil, Nallur has been organised by LTTE proxy Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

According to the sources in Jaffna, TNA leader R.Sambandan, and TNA parliamentarians, Suresh Premachandran, Selvam Adaikalanathan Solomon Cyril, K Thureiratnasingha and Padmini Sidambaram are participating for the event.

The meeting started at 4.30 PM with the participation of about 500 people. At the outset itself, the organizers blamed the EPDP, another Tamil Political party for less turn up for the meeting saying that the EPDP has threatened their supporters.
>> Full Story

Fonseka Party Supporter Arrested with Weapons

Sri Lanka Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel have arrested a supporter of UNF-TNA-JVP presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka with two T-56 riffles and 54 hand grenades around 7PM today (Jan 23). According to the STF sources, the items have been found inside Bodhirukkaramaya, a Buddhist temple at Maligawatta, Colombo 10.

Uwathanne Sumana , a Buddhist monk and a strong supporter of opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka has been taken into custody by the STF, said the sources.

Government officials believe that the finding reveals a plot by Fonseka party to create violence and put the blame on the government during the election scheduled on 26th January.
>> Full Story