By Vyshnavy Velrajh
Election monitoring bodies have received over 600 election violation related complaints during the course of the General Elections held today.
Voting for the General Elections 2020 commenced at 07.00 a.m. and concluded at 05.00 p.m.
People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said it received 143 election violation related complaints today and close to 2300 complaints during the pre-election period.
Executive Director to PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi told the Colombo Gazette that a large number of complaints were pertaining to illegal propaganda outside polling stations and one incident of assault reported in Mahiyanganaya.
Nearly 4316 complaints were received today on the misuse of social media, especially FaceBook, for the General Elections.
Measures were taken to block close to 60 individuals and pages conducting illegal propaganda on FaceBook today.
A total of 2000 complaints on the misuse of FaceBook for the General Elections were received during the pre-election period, he said.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said it received a total of 301 complaints relating to the violation of election laws.
Convenor of the Centre Manjula Gajanayake told the Colombo Gazette that 151 complaints were received involving the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and 34 complaints pertaining to the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB).
04 complaints were on votes of individuals having already been cast and one incident in Kyts where voters were made to wait for over 2-hours to be transported to their relevant polling centre.
A total of 151 incidents of illegal campaigning, 57 incidents of intimidation or influencing, 21 incidents relating to illegal posters and cutouts, 17 election offences, 15 incidents on the violation of health guidelines, 11 related to voters, 10 related to election officers on duty, 07 on the distribution of goods, 03 on assaults, 01 related to bribery and 08 other incidents were reported today, he said.
The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) reported it received 170 complaints on the violation of election laws and illegal campaigns.
Executive Director of CAFFE Manas Makeen told the Colombo Gazette that they also received 04 complaints pertaining to incidents of violence in Digamadulla.
All three election monitoring bodies highlighted complaints received on one particular incident involving Prime Minister and SLPP candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa in Nikawaretiya.
They said Prime Minister Rajapaksa had travelled across the Nikawaretiya electorate and had also entered a number of polling stations with over 100 supporters which was a violation of election laws.
The Samagi Jana Balawegaya too called on the National Election Commission to conduct repolling in the relevant polling centres as it undermined the opportunity for a free and fair election.
However, election monitoring bodies PAFFREL, CAFFE and CMEV affirmed that the General Elections 2020 was largely peaceful in comparison to the previous Parliamentary polls. (Colombo Gazette)