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* Sri Lanka poll monitoring groups say authorities inactive against election law violations
Sun, Mar 14, 2010, 03:19 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka poll monitoring groups say both the police and the Election Commissioner's office are inactive against the election law violations by all political parties.

Executive Director of the independent election watchdog, People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Rohana Hettiarachchi says the posters, cut-outs, and other propaganda are still on display despite the orders to remove them.

Hettiarachchi accused the government of continuing to misuse the state property for the election campaigns.

"The government side continues to misuse state resources from logistical equipment to manpower and the authorities are doing nothing to stop it," Hettiarachchi said.

According to him, most of the violent clashes reported so far are among the members of the same party, especially among the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidates fighting for the preferential votes.

Few people have reportedly been injured and several incidents of property damage have been reported. The police have arrested 35 persons so far for violating election laws. Among the arrested were two candidates - non-cabinet minister Jayatissa Ranweera and former UNP parliamentarian Dinesh Gankanda.

Meanwhile, the PAFFREL director said only less than 10 out of the 7620 candidates contesting the elections have so far declared their assets.

Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), another election monitoring group reported a total of 67 incidents of election law violations from February 15 through today.

According to the CaFFE spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon the race for preferential votes is heated up in certain areas to the extent that even senior cabinet ministers are being prevented by their own party men from campaigning.

"Every election law has already been flouted. There is no democracy and nothing is free and fair in this ongoing campaign," Tennakoon said.

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