By Norman Palihawadane
SLPP won all 17 divisions of the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha at yesterday’s election. The SLPP obtained 23,372 votes while the UPFA and UNP received 5,273 and 10,113 respectively. The JVP polled only 2,435 votes.
Accordinlgy, the SLPP will have 17 seats out of 29. The UPFA and UNP will have three and seven seats respectively while the JVP will have two seats.
The voter turnout of the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha election was over 75 per cent according to Galle District Returning Officer Somarathna Vidanapathirana.
Votes were counted at the polling centres and thereafter the results were sent to the Elections Operations Center set up at Elpitiya Vocational Training Institute from where the final results were announced.
Elections started at 7 am and ended at 4 pm without any major incidents. There were 47 polling stations for 53,384 registered voters. There were 155 candidates from recognized political parties.
People’s Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said that the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha election had been held in a very peaceful manner.
He said voters had been able to witness counting of votes at their respective polling booths, which was a rare incident.
There were some minor incidents which in no way would affect the election results. Hettiarachchi praised the Returning officer, Galle, Deputy Elections Commissioner and Elpitiya Superintendent of police for ensuring a conducive environment to conduct the election from the outset.
The area politicians ensured that there were no clashes and conducted their election campaigns in a disciplined manner, the PAFFREL Chief said.
Acting Executive Director of CaFFE, Ahamed Manas Makeen said that the election for the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha had been concluded peacefully.
He said that it was also observed that the public had turned up to vote with great enthusiasm.
Election posters left unremoved were seen in several areas including near the Elpitiya Nawadagala School, Imbulpitiya Ambaduwa roads as well as certain areas outside the city, he said.
He said that they had also observed that illegal propaganda activities were carried out by spreading small cards containing the symbols of political parties in certain areas and that the police had notified the relevant sections.
CaFFE says that 25 election monitors had been deployed for monitoring duties related to the Elpitiya PS election.
SLPP and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said that Elpitiya results were not only a victory of his party but of the entire country. Rajapaksa said that Presidential Elections results too would be similar to the Elpitiya PS election results. “This is the reality which the government fails to see. It can never comprehend the behaviour of the electorate. That is why the government still goes on talking of their candidate’s victory at presidential polls,” Rajapaksa said.
Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera said the Elpitiya PS election had been peaceful.
He said 18 police mobile patrols and eight police units comprising 193 policemen had been deployed to provide security to the area.
SP Gunasekera said a couple of minor incidents had been reported and a person was arrested for transporting voters to a polling booth. He was later released on police bail. The suspect would be prosecuted under the provisions of the Local Authorities Elections Act, he said.
The police spokesman said that security provided to polling stations would be continued and added that STF commandos had been deployed the Elpititya Vocational Training Institute, where the final results were announced.
He added that police would continue to provide security to the area for two more days.
The Elpitiya PS elections was postponed last year, after the Supreme Court (SC) issued an interim injunction preventing the poll following a petition by a party against the rejection of its nomination list. At the conclusion of the case on August 30, 2019, the SC issued an order quashing the Galle District Returning Officer’s decision to reject the nomination list. The SC ordered the Elections Commission to hold the election for the Elpitiya PS without further delay. Accordingly, the EC announced that the Elpitiya PS Elections would be held on October 11.