The highly controversial Northern-Provincial Elections took place today, after a week that saw the attack of an electoral candidate’s residence, the death of a TNA campaigner and several other draconian measures .
Sources suggest that over 60% of eligible voters took part in all districts of the Northern Province. The district of Jaffna had the lowest turn-out of 60%.
The past week saw citizens of the North subject to heightening intimidation and misinformation.
Less than two days before the Northern Provincial Council election, one of the most vocal and outspoken candidates of the Tamil National Alliance’s electoral campaign Ananthi Sasitharan narrowly escaped an attack at her home.
Consequently, an election monitor, who rushed to the scene after receiving a call from Ananthi, was brutally attacked.
Full Coverage: SL army attack Ananthy Sasitharan's home (20 September 2013)
Fake prints of the Uthayan newspaper were distributed around the Northern Province, exhibited fictitious calls from the TNA that urged voters to boycott the elections. The forged paper went as far as alleging that TNA candidate, Ananthi Sasitharan, had pledged a new alliance to the ruling party, the UPFA.
|Copy of fake Uthayan Newspaper- Courtesy www.Seithy.com|
On the day of elections, a leading public figure in the Thenmarachi district, was arrested and detained by Sri Lankan intelligence as he went to vote. In response, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran drove to the detention site, and was met by gunfire from unidentifiable personnel who reportedly ran back into the military camp of the 55th division. Despite heavy damage to the vehicle, there were no injuries reported by the MP and his entourage.
Civilians in the Manipai district reported a white van, with no number plate, driving around the streets with an empty coffin attached to its roof. The white van was predominantly spotted circulating the election polling station of the Manipai district.
Several reports of people loitering around election poles, making threatening remarks to voters, whilst offering no form of identity when challenged were, prevalent throughout the Northern Province.
In one incident TNA MP, Mavai Senathirajah, caught one of the intimidators in action and reported him to the local district police.
|Loiterer challenged to produce identification outside a voting booth|
Further reports established that the house of an outspoken supporter of the TNA, Adaykappan Poobalan, who was working as an observer at an electoral booth, was set a light by unidentified peoples, during the voting process this morning.
The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence provides a list of key incidents reported.