Had the ruling coalition settled disputes among its leading candidates in the provinces, the 2010 General Election would have been the most peaceful electoral exercise since the introduction of the PR system during the JRJ administration.
According to police headquarters, most of the 219 complaints are owing to intra-party hostilities among UPFA candidates. Of the 127 complaints lodged on behalf of UPFA/SLFP candidates, more than 50 per cent were against their colleagues.
Replying to a query by The Island, IGP Mahinda Balasuriya said that compared to the last General Election in April 2004, the ongoing campaign had been free from major incidents involving government and Opposition supporters. He pointed out that during the last General Election campaign, the police had recorded a staggering 2,877 complaints from political parties.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has repeatedly urged UPFA heavyweights to stop fighting among themselves and unitedly strive for a two-thirds majority at the April 8 election. Addressing a public rally in support of UPFA candidates contesting the Ratnapura District, the President called for an end to the Manape battle between John Seneviratne and Pavitra Wanniarachchi. He also referred to a dispute between A. H. M. Fowzie and Azath Sally, though he did not identify them by name.
Statistics pertaining to pre-election incidents, released by Senior DIG N. K. Illangakoon, reveal that the combined Opposition has not been at the receiving end of major incidents of violence. The former police spokesman said that the UNP/UNF the JVP/DNA (Democratic National Alliance) had lodged 29 and 21 complaints respectively so far while the police had received two complaints from the CWC, a constituent party of the UPFA.
Illangakoon said that of 219 complaints so far received by them, suspects involved in 147 cases had been identified and 174 persons arrested. According to him, investigations pertaining to 57 complaints had been completed and 161 cases filed.
He said that the highest number of complaints had been received from the Batticaloa police division (24), followed by Mahanuwara 20, Matale 13 and Kantale 12. He said that there had been some trouble at Nuwara Eliya. He emphasised that there had been about six serious cases of election related violence so far, whereas over 75 per cent of complaints were due to removal of propaganda materials by rivals.