Sri Lankan local government elections, 2009

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Sri Lankan local government elections, 2009
Sri Lanka
2008 ←
8 August 2009 → 2011

34 seats across 2 local authorities
Turnout 28.09%
  First party Second party
  WEF on the Middle East Arab and foreign Ministers Crop.jpg R. Sampanthan.jpg
Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa R. Sampanthan
Party United People's Freedom Alliance Tamil National Alliance
Popular vote 13,647 12,287
Percentage 41.09% 36.99%
Councillors 15 13
Councils 1 0

Local government elections were held in Sri Lanka on 8 August 2009 for two local councils in the north of the country: Jaffna Municipal Council and Vavuniya Urban Council.[1] They were the first elections held in the country since the government declared victory in the 26 year old civil war on 18 May 2009. They were also the first local elections held in the Northern Province in more than 11 years. Both towns had been under government control for many years. The government won the Jaffna Municipal Council contest by securing 13 of the 23 seats.[2] The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won the Vavuniya Urban Council contest by securing 5 of the 11 seats.[2] Turnout was very low in Jaffna (22%) but it was better in Vavuniya (52%).

Background[edit]

On 25 May 2009 the government announced that local elections would be held in Jaffna and Vavuniya.[3] Nominations took place between 18 June 2009 and 25 June 2009. After the nominations closed the Sri Lankan Department of Election announced that the elections would take place on 8 August 2009, the same day as the Uva Provincial Council elections.[4]

The TNA has said that the elections are being held too early, with so many of the electorate displaced.[1] It expected the Jaffna elections to be violent and the results to be rigged, just like the 2008 Eastern Provincial Council elections.[5][6] The United National Party (UNP) and the People’s Action for Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) have called on the election authorities to bring in foreign election observers.[7]

Violence, intimidation and other irregularities[edit]

Veerasingham Anandasangaree, president of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), has accused a Tamil government minister of "terrorising the residents of Jaffna in the run-up to the Municipal Council elections".[8] It is believed that the minister Anandasangaree was referring to is Douglas Devananda, leader of the paramilitary Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP).[9]

The UNP has accused the government of obstructing the UNP's campaign in Jaffna and Vavuniya.[10] It says the government is preventing its free movement and has complained to the Election Department. The UNP has also accused armed supporters of the EPDP of threatening its candidates.[11] It has said that the EPDP is using state resources, such as the police, in its election campaigns.

In the early hours of 25 June 2009 armed men attacked newspaper delivery men and burnt thousands of copies of three Tamil language newspapers (Thinakkural, Uthayan and Valampuri) in Jaffna.[12][13][14] The newspapers had refused to print a statement attacking the Tamil Tigers from a shadowy group calling itself the "Tamil Front Protecting the Country". The group telephoned the Thinakkural after the attack and warned that the newspapers would continue to be confiscated and torched until the statement was published. The newspaper published the statement under duress on 26 June 2009.[1]

On 27 June 2009 the group issued further threats against the Uthayan, this time ordering all its staff to resign by 30 June 2009 or face death.[15][16]

On 4 July 2009 two men were shot and killed by unidentified gunmen in the Parathipuram area of Vavuniya. The dead men were identified as 39-year-old Nadaraja Ramesh Kantha, principal of Parathipuram Tamil Mixed School, and 31-year-old Gunarathnam Peter Ruben.[17][18]

Jaffna Municipal Council[edit]

The last election for Jaffna MC was held on 29 January 1998.[3]

The following six alliances / parties / independent groups' nominations were accepted by the Sri Lankan Department of Election:[19][20]

A total of 174 candidates competed for the 23 seats available on the council.[19][21]

The nominations of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and an independent group (Arumugam Sellathurai) were rejected by the Sri Lankan Department of Election.[20] The SLMC appealed to the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka but on 3 July the courts rejected the appeal.[22] There were approximately 10,000 Muslim refugees from Jaffna living in other districts. Of these 7,104 applied to vote in the Jaffna elections.[23] With the elimination of the SLMC and the UNP not fielding any Muslim candidates, most of the Muslims would most likely have voted for the United People's Freedom Alliance.

Extraordinarily there were no applications by Tamil refugees to vote in the Jaffna elections.[23] There are hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees from the Jaffna peninsula living in other parts of the country, either in refugee camps or with relatives. Many of these are from the Jaffna municipality area.

Veteran politician Veerasingham Anandasangaree is a candidate to become Mayor of Jaffna.[24] Anandasangaree was a TNA Member of Parliament but left the TNA when it started taking a pro-Tamil Tiger stance. Since then he has reconstituted the TULF, a constituent party of the TNA, as a separate political party and formed alliances with government-backed anti-Tamil Tigers paramilitary groups, such as the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), in order to fight elections against the TNA. Most TULF members however remain within the TNA.

Results[edit]

The government (UPFA) took control of the Jaffna Municipal Council after securing 13 of the 23 seats.[2]

Alliance / Party / Independent Group Votes % Seats
United People's Freedom Alliance 10,602 50.67% 13
Tamil National Alliance 8,008 38.28% 8
Independent Group 1 1,175 5.62% 1
Tamil United Liberation Front 1,007 4.81% 1
United National Party 83 0.40% 0
Independent Group 2 47 0.22% 0
Valid Votes 20,922 100.00% 23
Rejected Votes 1,358
Total Polled 22,280
Registered Electors 100,417
Turnout (%) 22.19%
Source:[25]

The following candidates were elected:

No. Elected Candidate Party Preference
Votes
22 Mudiyappu Remediyas TNA 4,223
12 Thurairajah Illango alias Regan UPFA (EPDP) 3,387
1 Mohamed Sultan Moulavi Sufian Ind 1 1,779
1 Anthonypillai Mariamma TNA 1,678
20 Murugiah Komahan UPFA (EPDP) 1,573
10 Karthigesu Nadarasa Kanagaratnam TNA 1,442
3 Manuel Mangaleswaran alias Nesapriyan UPFA (EPDP) 1,394
19 Meerasahib Mohamed Rameez UPFA (ACMC) 1,338
14 Patkunam Yogeswary UPFA (EPDP) 1,250
16 Pilevian Expedith Cracian UPFA (EPDP) 1,166
17 Nadarajah Rajathevan TNA 1,118
19 Benjamin Jacob TNA 1,039
21 Mohamed Merasahib Mustafa UPFA (ACMC) 1,029
18 Manikkam Kanagaraththinam UPFA (EPDP) 1,025
3 Ariyakuddy Paramsothy TNA 1,007
26 Sutharsingh Vijiyakanth UPFA (EPDP) 989
4 Asker Roomi Badurtheen UPFA (ACMC) 979
1 Ajmaeen Asfar UPFA (ACMC) 960
27 Suvikaran Nishanthan UPFA (EPDP) 896
2 Anthonipillai Cilapotasious UPFA (EPDP) 889
21 Mariyakorattry Anton TNA 881
5 Arulappu Korneliyas TNA 826
1 Veerasingham Anandasangaree TULF 424
Sources:[26][27][28]

The EPDP has nominated Patkunam Yogeswary to be Mayor and Thurairajah Illango to be Deputy Mayor.[29]

Vavuniya Urban Council[edit]

The last election for Vavuniya UC was held on 1 March 1994.[3]

The following nine alliances / parties / independent groups' nominations were accepted by the Sri Lankan Department of Election:[19]

A total of 135 candidates competed for the 11 seats available on the council.[19][21]

The TULF (Anandasangaree wing) filed a separate nomination but this was rejected by the Sri Lankan Department of Election.[24]

Results[edit]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) secured 5 of the 11 seats, making it the largest group on Vavuniya Urban Council.[2] The TNA is seeking SLMC support to form a majority administration.[30] The TNA's victory in Vavuniya was seen as a surprise by international observers because many people had predicted the end of the TNA following the LTTE's military defeat.[31][32][33]

Alliance / Party / Independent Group Votes % Seats
Tamil National Alliance 4,279 34.81% 5
Democratic People's Liberation Front 4,136 33.65% 3
United People's Freedom Alliance 3,045 24.77% 2
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 587 4.78% 1
United National Party 228 1.85% 0
Sri Lanka Progressive Front 10 0.08% 0
Independent Group 1 6 0.05% 0
Independent Group 3 1 0.01% 0
Independent Group 2 0 0.00% 0
Valid Votes 12,292 100.00% 11
Rejected Votes 558
Total Polled 12,850
Registered Electors 24,626
Turnout (%) 52.18%
Source:[34]

The following candidates were elected:

No. Elected Candidate Party Preference
Votes
2 Kanthar Thamotharampillai Linganathan DPLF 2,958
14 Muttu Sivasami Muguntharathan TNA 2,551
1 Abdul Pari Muhammadu Sareep UPFA 2,270
5 Rathinasigam Sivakumar TNA 1,105
7 S. N. G. Nathan TNA 1,099
13 Sundaram Kumarasamy DPLF 962
5 Jayasekara Arachchige Dhammika Lalith Jayasekara UPFA 952
15 Sellaththurai Surenthiran TNA 858
3 Kandasamy Partheepan DPLF 834
1 Iyaththurai Kanagiah TNA 791
2 Abdul Latif Mohamed Munawfar SLMC 665
Sources:[27][35]

The TNA has nominated S. N. G. Nathan to be Chairman and Muttu Sivasami Muguntharathan to be Deputy Mayor.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Charles Haviland (26 June 2009). "Post-war Sri Lanka vote date set". BBC News. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Government and pro-rebel party win local elections". The Washington Post. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Sri Lanka to hold local elections". The Straits Times. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  4. ^ "Sri Lanka sets date for first post-war polls". Reuters India. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  5. ^ "JMC election feared to be violence-filled - TNA". TamilNet. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  6. ^ "Burning of newspapers doesn't augur well for free elections: TNA". TamilNet. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Kelum Bandara (7 July 2009). "UNP, PAFFREL call for foreign observers at northern polls". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 12 July 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ Sandun A Jayasekera (11 July 2009). "Tamil minister’s thugs terrorizing Jaffna: Anandasangaree". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 12 July 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ M.S.M Ayub (18 July 2009). "Reading the Jaffna mind through election". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 8 August 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ "UNP charges govt. obstructing campaign". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. 11 July 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ Johan Perera and Sarah Kellapatha (14 July 2009). "State terror in Jaffna: UNP". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 8 August 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Sri Lankan Government Arrests Famed Astrologer Over Predictions of President's Failure". Fox News. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "RWB express concern on restoring PC". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. 27 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Wholesale attack on Jaffna newspapers". TamilNet. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  15. ^ Charles Haviland (1 July 2009). "Death threats to Sri Lanka paper". BBC News. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  16. ^ "‘Final Warning’ issued to Jaffna Tamil daily Uthayan staffers". TamilNet. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  17. ^ Dilini Algama and Rathindra Kuruwita (5 July 2009). "Two Killings in Vavuniya". The Nation on Sunday, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "School principal shot dead in Vavuniyaa". TamilNet. 4 July 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Press Room". Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  20. ^ a b "SLMC, independent group lists rejected in Jaffna". TamilNet. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  21. ^ a b "News". Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  22. ^ S.S. Selvanayagam (4 July 2009). "Court rejects SLMC Rights petition". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 12 July 2009. [dead link]
  23. ^ a b "Close fight in Jaffna". The Nation on Sunday, Sri Lanka. 12 July 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  24. ^ a b Sandun A Jayasekera and N. Parameswaran (26 June 2009). "N/local govt. polls on Aug 8". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 12 July 2009. [dead link]
  25. ^ "Local Authorities Election 2009 Final Results Jaffna Municipal Council". Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  26. ^ "Local Authorities Election 2009 Final Results Jaffna Municipal Council - Preferences" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  27. ^ a b "Election Results- UVA provincial council, Jaffna Municipal Council , Vavuniya Urban Council". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. 10 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009. [dead link]
  28. ^ "Remdiyas gets highest number of preferential votes in JMC election". TamilNet. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  29. ^ "Patkunam Yogeswary appointed Mayor of JMC". TamilNet. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  30. ^ Kelum Bandara (11 August 2009). "Vavuniya: TNA seeks SLMC support". Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 19 August 2009. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Vavuniya: Upset in Sri Lanka post-war polls". BBC News. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  32. ^ "Mixed results in Sri Lanka polls". Radio New Zealand. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  33. ^ "Tamil party still has strong support in elections". Radio France Internationale. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  34. ^ "Local Authorities Election 2009 Final Results Vavuniya Urban Council". Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  35. ^ "Local Authorities Election 2009 Final Results Vavuniya Urban Council - Preferences" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  36. ^ "TNA nominates Chairman of Vavuniyaa UC". TamilNet. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009.