How Proposed Electoral Reforms Save the Regime from Negatives of North and East Fraudulent Votes
Posted on April 5th, 2015

Dilrook Kannangara

Defeat of Mahinda was caused by his neglect of his core Sinhala voters since 2010 but the victory of Sirisena was not automatic. Casting two votes each by certain Tamil and Muslim sections in western, northern, eastern and central provinces helped Sirisena achieve the required 50% at the January presidential election. He was amply supported by the ad-hoc registration of illegal immigrants from South India by active NGOs as well. However, this comes with a heavy baggage. These fraudsters will caste two votes each (or more) at the general election which will adversely affect the UNP’s clout in parliament causing chaos and instability. How to overcome this challenge? Enter the gimmick of electoral reforms!

The Threat to the UNP

As they did, sections of Tamils and Muslims will again caste more than one vote at the upcoming general election. They will caste their first vote in Colombo, etc. to the UNP and preferences to Tamil or Muslim candidates depending on their own ethnicity. Although UNP resisted fielding more than one Tamil from Colombo district, the fact that Tamil votes punch above their weight mean UNP will be forced to field more than one this time. In 2004 two key Tamil candidates were fielded as Jaffna was shut out to the UNP by the LTTE thanks to the CFA (2002). This will make it very difficult for non-Tamil UNP contestants from Colombo district. They will be defeated by the preference vote battle. When elected, these MPs will show allegiance to TNA and SLMC as always happened in the past. It will create a huge problem for the UNP government to pass laws, face the separatism threat and fight off SLFP and JVP challenges that affect UNP differently to that of TNA and SLMC. For instance, if the UNP government had to impose emergency regulations or save national war heroes from discredit and personal attacks, its own Tamil and Muslim MPs will not readily support it.

Then the fraudulent voters will proceed to north, east or central province to caste their second vote. This vote will go to either TNA or SLMC depending on their own ethnicity. First likelihood is this will reduce the chances for UNP’s own candidates in these provinces as TNA and SLMC benefit from vote fraudsters from Colombo. UNP seats from these provinces will reduce. Secondly, these fraudulent votes will go to TNA, SLMC and CWC candidates contesting from the UNP reducing UNP’s own candidates. Opportunistically these TNA, SLMC and CWC MPs elected from the UNP will cross over to the other side as happens always. Thirdly it will reduce pro-government parties’ MPs including EPDP. These developments will also make it difficult to govern as there will be lesser number of MPs for the core UNP group.

How to Overcome It?

This is why the regime proposed election reforms! The new hybrid of first-past-the-post and proportionate representation means there will be no preference vote battles. Even with a single higher vote, an electorate (yet to be defined) could be won. The candidates will be nominated by the party and voters will be unable to decide who their vote will elect once the party is chosen.

This totally overcomes the above threats faced by the UNP.

It gets even better for the regime. In fact fraudulent votes become a blessing, again. The more fraudulent votes are cast, the more seats the regime and its allies will get as their fortunes depend on gaining the highest number of votes from an electorate and the percentage of votes from the district. UNP seats will anyway reduce in the north and the east as TNA and SLMC will gain from both first-past-the-post MPs and from reduced proportionate representation number of MPs. It will be like pre-1989 elections in the north and the east.

A very clever masterstroke by the regime to turn a threat into an opportunity.

The proposed election system will also weaken the third forces – JVP and Mahinda camp. JVP will be unable to win an electorate so it will lose out on all electorate based seats. It will win fewer seats from the PR allocation as the total number of seats up for grabs in PR allocation reduces.

Other Impacts

It is impossible for the UNP or SLFP to win an electorate in the north and the east. Even if they win, the beneficiary will be a pro-TNA or pro-SLMC MP. As such TNA is guaranteed all the seats in Jaffna and Tamil majority areas elsewhere in the north and the east. Since the number of MPs elected by the PR method has reduced drastically, UNP, SLFP and EPDP have lesser chance than now to win a seat. This further assures TNA and SLMC an outright win. Due to this reason, Tamils and Muslims who casted two votes in January will find it unnecessary to do so at the general election. Even without their second vote, TNA and SLMC will win the same number of seats. As a result the voters’ turnout will reduce drastically in these districts compared to January 2015.

Conclusion

Democracy is meaningless without one man one vote. The one man one vote concept was opposed by Tamil leaders from the onset. The north and the east have a very bad reputation of fraudulent voting. In 2004 independent international election monitors reported that elections in the north and the east were not free from material fraud and fraud changed the outcome. Although LTTE was blamed, the beneficiary was the TNA. January 2015 election was the culmination of these frauds and intent. Action must be taken to use technology to prevent, identify and punish election fraudsters. If it is not forthcoming, the victims of this fraud must also follow the same strategy which will bring about a just outcome though by unjust means.

2 Responses to “How Proposed Electoral Reforms Save the Regime from Negatives of North and East Fraudulent Votes”

  1. Christie Says:

    Namaste: Indian Imperialists got the Island by its balls with Sirisena the Coolie. Ranil the Kankani and Chandrika the Governor. What it wants now is to stop two thirds majority for the Sinhala agenda in the Parliament and it appears that they will succeed. Jai Hind.

  2. Marco Says:

    author, Dilrook must have witnessed hundreds of thousands of North & East citizens being transported by train, bus loads and cars from Colombo to North & East electorates and/or vice versa on the 8th of January for them to vote twice.
    Interesting, that majority of Northern citizens did not vote in the 2004 elections and yet TNA was the beneficiary.

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