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2013-09-15 Introduction Sri Lankan election laws forbid the use of public property during periods when elections are held. Numerous circulars and establishment codes attempt to prevent such abuses during election periods. It is also prohibited for state employees to engage in party politics. However, interest groups and local and international election observers continuously point at instances of misuse of public properties like public buildings, manipulation of state media and vehicles and the misuse of state employees time including military and police personnel to support election campaigns as well as party campaigns in election-free periods. Apart from damaging electoral competitiveness, misuse of public property by the incumbent Government political party has a negative impact on the quality of governance as funds and resources earmarked for necessary projects are diverted for electioneering. An analysis of the past elections indicates that misuse of public property is a decisive factor in the pre-election period and has a significant impact on the outcome of an election. State property, including promises of future employment and welfare benefits are, in a way, direct strategies employed by the Government to influence the voter. Although there was a significant improvement in the situation during the period when independent commissions established by the virtue of the powers contained in the 17th amendment to the Constitution was operational, the situation rapidly deteriorated after the independent commissions were made dysfunctional due to the lack of political commitment. Misuse of public property is also a violation of the most basic fundamentals of a free and fair election. For an election to be really free and fair all parties and candidates should have a level playing field one person, one vote, one value principal. INGO Projects Used for Political Mileages

However when one party or a candidate has access to state property, that party or candidate has a significant and often insurmountable advantage over those who do not have such access. This tilting-process, resulting in advantages accrued to the Party in power in an electoral contest, has an adverse effect on peoples faith in political representation as many feel that politics is manipulated by the ruling Government rather than it being based on a fair contest. In addition, when politicians misuse public property it is the taxpayer that ultimately foots the bill as these properties are often procured and maintained through revenues made by taxes. Furthermore, when state resources and employees are used for electioneering, there is an opportunity cost as the public receives less service than they are entitled to. This in turn leads to poor governance, an ineffective public sector and further delegitimizes the state as an agent working for the betterment of the public. Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has been monitoring instances of misuse of public property since the 2008 Eastern Provincial Council election. However, this is the first effort of a systematic compiling and analysis of misuse of public property, breach of legislation, and its impact on competitiveness during electioneering, rule of law and democracy. The report uses a combination of direct and indirect monitoring methodologies. CaFFE uses instances observed by its island wide network of election monitors and civil society partners as well as media monitoring and complaints lodged at the Department of Elections and Police Elections Secretariat. CaFFE believes that those who are interested in free and fair elections and are passionate about representative democracy must campaign and take action to prevent the misuse of state property to enable and ensure free and fair elections. 36% Complaints are abuse of public property This report is an effort to raise public awareness of the issue and to enhance the respect for and highlight existing legislation that prohibits the misuse of resources. Summery CaFFE has received 455 complaints by September 11, 2013 and 165 of complaints which is 36% in total are abuse of state property. CaFFE considers abuse of state property is the most influential mechanism of manipulating the elections during the pre election times. CaFFE utilized all its existing resources to monitor the abuse of state property with an impact and our exercise has tremendously reduced such behavior by not only the ruling party but also the main opposition party in Northern Province.

Background of the NP, NWP and CP Provincial Election President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a proclamation ordering the Election Commissioner to conduct elections for the Northern Provincial Council on July 5, 2013. On the same day Central and Northwestern Provincial Councils were also dissolved by their governors. This is the first time a provincial council election is held in a de-merged Northern Province, although elections were held in the area as a part of the merged North Eastern Province on November 19, 1988. The two provinces were de-merged on January 1, 2007 after the Supreme Court, ruled on October 16, 2006 that the proclamations issued by President Jayewardene were null and void and had no legal effect. One of the striking aspects between the day of nominations and August 21 is that complaints of misuse of public property received by CaFFE, other election monitors and the Department of Elections were higher than other election related offences. Several factors have contributed to this development, among which the climate of impunity and the high number of candidates from political families playing a key role. With the dissolution, the Provincial Councils of Central and Northwestern Provinces are no longer functioning and the administration of the province is under the purview of the Governor and the Chief Secretary of the province. According to election laws, after a Provincial Council is dissolved the Ministers and members of the provincial councils are to hand over mobile and immobile assets provided by the council to facilitate their activities to serve the people. These include vehicles, official residences, equipment, stationary, furniture, electricity, communications and other amenities. However, in elections CaFFE had monitored, it has not observed any action by the Governor and the Chief Secretary of the provinces taking any meaningful and systematic action to re-acquire these assets. Unfortunately CaFFE witnessed a similar course of action by Governors and Chief Secretaries of Central and Northwestern Provinces in the run up to Septembers Provincial Council Elections. This climate of impunity has encouraged and enhanced the misuse of public property. Relatives Business Partners: Causing Abuse Another factor contributing to the misuse of public property is that a large number of relatives of government ministers, MPs, provincial councilors, former councilors and Pradesheeya Sabha members are contesting in the Central and Northwestern

Provincial Council elections. These candidates have access to resources of the state and other institutions giving them an advantage over other candidates of opposition political parties and their own party. In the initial period after nominations, CaFFE observed that government vehicles, buildings and employees were used violating the directives on July 16, 2013 and July 18, 2013 issued by the Election Commissioner. Legal Background Sri Lankan Election Laws and the Constitution give power to the Election Commissioner to conduct a free and fair election and state officials are expected to cooperate with the Commissioner to achieve his objectives. The 17th amendment to the constitution called for an independent Election Commission, appointed by the President on the recommendations of the Constitutional Council. However since The Election Commission was not appointed, the incumbent Commissioner of Elections Continued to function in the post until September 2010 when the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution was passed. The Eighteenth Amendment provided for the President to appoint a person holding office as an Additional Commissioner of Elections to act as the Election Commission. Technically, the Commissioner has the power to prohibit the use of state/public property for use by any candidate/party, provide binding media guidelines for public broadcasters, and appoint a Competent Authority to take over the management of public broadcasters in the event of a violation, notify the Inspector General of Police of required numbers of police personnel for election duties and instruct on deployment and recommend to the President on deployment of armed forces as and when required. However, what we have seen in recent elections is that those whose assistance is vital for the Commissioner to take action against election law violators e.g. the police, are hesitant to take action against election law violators because they fear persecution. In the run up to the election, the Commissioner issued circulars regarding the misuse of state property and the recruitment, appointment and the transfer of state officials during the election period on July 13, 2013 and July 18, 2013. In the circular PCE/2013-06, the Commissioner wrote to the Secretary to the President, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary to all Ministries, Secretaries to the National Police Commission and Public Services Commission, Chief Secretaries of Provincial Councils, all District Secretaries, all Secretaries to Provincial Governors/of Provincial Ministries, all Secretaries to Provincial Public Services Commission, all heads of Departments and Chairmen and General Managers of State corporations and Statutory Boards requesting to prevent the misuse of state property and limit

recruitment, appointment and the transfer of state officials during the election period. In this circular the Commissioner states that the responsibility to ensure the above mentioned objectives rests with the officials named earlier. Citing articles 104B (4) (a) and (b) The Commission shall have the power during the period of an election, to prohibit the use of any movable or immovable property belonging to the State or any public corporation (i) For the purpose of promoting or preventing the election of any candidate or any political party or independent group contesting at such election; (ii) By any candidate or any political party or any independent group contesting at such election. By a direction in writing by the Chairman of the Commission or of the CommissionerGeneral of Elections on the instruction of the Commission. (b) It shall be the duty of every person or officer in whose custody or under whose control such property is for the time being, to comply with and give effect to such direction. The Commissioner requested the relevant authorities that they should maintain a vehicle pool of each institution, including assigned vehicles to officials and vehicles hired for rent and that they should maintain strict records (running sheets) to make sure state vehicles are not used for electioneering. The Commissioner also directed that a staff officer should monitor and inspect these records daily to ensure that the vehicles have not been misused. Only two vehicles of PSD can run using garage numbers and all others, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers and their staff members, cannot use state vehicles without a registration number. Department Heads and Secretaries of Ministries have been assigned the responsibility to ensure this. Commissioner adds that buildings, officers, schools and circuit bungalows are state property and they should not be used for political discussions or meetings. In addition those engaged in electioneering should not be given free accommodation in rest houses, hotels or circuit bungalows. These buildings cannot be reserved for one politician, officials or a person exclusively during election time. Unmarked Vehicles: Misleading, Creating Fear Commissioner also suggests that events organized from public funds, including mobile services, exhibitions and openings, should not be held within the election period so that candidates/politicians do not get the opportunity to gain political mileage by attending and speaking at these events. Distribution of state land to residents of areas where elections are held, issuing deeds of state land and housing, agricultural equipment, sports goods, items needed for self employment, foot bicycles, solar powered lamps, projects to distribute building materials and housing loans should be prohibited during elections as such projects allow a specific group or political party to gain advantage over another. Public officials are not to engage in politics during working hours taking duty leave and the rule that state officials without political rights,

and those involved with peace and order, i.e. Grama Niladaris and those attached to security services cant engage in political activities should be strictly upheld. These circulars came into being after years of continuous lobbying by election monitors committed to ensure free and fair elections. However, the Commissioner does concede that he has received continuous complaints from election monitors with regard to violations of election laws. However candidates and political parties are using loopholes in the election law to carry out propaganda activities and misuse state property. For example a Pradesheeya Sabha member can compete for the Provincial Council without resigning. Thus he or she can use the facilities provided by the Pradesheeya Sabha for campaigning. A similar situation arises when a relative of a Pradesheeya Sabha member is contesting for the Provincial Council. What makes this a crucial factor in this election is that a large number of relatives of Pradesheeya Sabha chairmen/ members are contesting for the Provincial Councils. Therefore these loopholes have to be looked into in the future elections as this leaves room for misuse of public property and no action could be taken against such misuse as they are deemed to have been protected by some fallacies of the particular legislation. Pre-nomination period Since the provincial councils were dissolved, CaFFE has been monitoring election law violations, misuse of public property and instances of election-related violence. As mentioned above, a striking feature was the high number of complaints related to misuse of public property. In the report we have divided these complaints into such categories as misuse of government vehicles, state buildings including schools and circuit bungalows and deploying government officials, including members of the security forces. Vehicles on the run: tax payers billed Vehicles belonging to a number of ministries, government-owned corporations and statutory boards were used for electioneering in Central and Northwestern Provinces. Among these institutions vehicles of the Ministries of Lands, Buddha Sasana, Private Transport, Higher Education, Livestock Development, Environment and Fisheries were the most abused. Given below are brief summaries of several events where CaFFE intervention had a positive impact and acted to deter the misuse of public property through naming and shaming. A full list of incidents, till August 22, will be attached at the end of the report.

Land Ministry vehicle used for campaigning by Pramitha Bandara The first main instance where CaFFE had concrete proof that Land Ministry vehicles were being used in the election campaigning was when a Ministry vehicle was confiscated by the Naula police after a clash between the supporters of provincial council candidates Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon and Thilak Bandara at Naula on July 28. Although the Ministry initially denied the allegations, presented with photographic evidence, Secretary to the Ministry of Lands T Asoka Peiris wrote to CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon on August 05 admitting that the vehicle (KH 0262) indeed belonged to the Ministry of Lands.

Over 100 Vehicles Misused on Dramatically Reduced As mentioned earlier in the report, a large number of politically connected individuals with access to public property are contesting at the elections. CaFFE observers have been reporting, since late July, that UPFA candidate Ujith Anuradha, the Managing Director of Ceynor Foundation, has been using vehicles of Ceynor for electioneering in Matale and that these vehicles are being driven in a careless manner. Ironically on the same date that CaFFE wrote to the Commissioner of Elections, August 12, a cab of Ceynor Foundation met with an accident. Although those travelling in the vehicle removed the number plate of the vehicle and election propaganda, an investigation by the Department of Elections officials revealed that election stickers and posters were pasted on the vehicle. Presented with the evidence that vehicles of the Ministry of Fisheries are massively been used for campaigning in Matale, Elections Officials conducted a massive raid on August 22 which will be detailed later. Anuradha told Lankadeepa newspaper this vehicle does not belong to Ceynor Foundation and that CaFFE is attempting to mislead the public. Ironically Anuradha was correct, technically, it was revealed that the vehicle belonged to National Aquatic Resources Research & Development Agency (NARA,) an affiliated body to the Ministry of Fisheries. CaFFE field observers had made a mistake in identifying the vehicle, however as stated above both NARA and Ceynor are affiliated bodies of the Ministry of Fisheries. At that point in time at least 9 vehicles of the Ministry were used for electioneering in Matale. Vehicle KB 8773 of Lankaputra Development Bank, Vennappuwa Branch, was used for electioneering in Puttalam and after the Commissioner of Elections wrote to the General Manager of the Bank (letter no PCE2013/19/PUT 14 on August 22, 2013) the vehicle was brought back to Banks HQ in Colombo. The bank management also agreed to conduct a thorough investigation and report back to the Commissioner. Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has identified that more than 100 vehicles with fake and garage number plates are involved in election campaigning in

Central and Northwestern Provinces. Although we have repeatedly notified the Governors and Chief Secretaries of both provinces, relevant Ministers and the Commissioner of Elections, no systematic action has been taken to stem this election law violation.

UPFA candidate Athula Wijesinghe alighting from a vehicle with garage numbers CaFFE field officers took photographic evidence of such a vehicle being used for campaigning by former Chief Minister of Northwestern Province, Mr. Athula Wijesinghe. The photos show the vehicle being parked outside the Kurunegala District Secretariat where he arrived in this vehicle to sign nominations. (Insert the picture of this vehicle) On August 14, 2013 a CaFFE field observers confirmed that the former Chief Minister has not handed over the above mentioned vehicle. The team from the Department of Elections confirmed the same (PCE/2013/19 (General) the next day. CaFFE has also received various complains from several sources that Minister Risad Bathiudeen is using public property to promote his brother who is contesting for the Northern Provincial Council from Mannar District . UNP wrote to the Commissioner of Elections that van no PE- 1716 of the Rathmalana textile institute was sent to Mannar on August 16 for electioneering by the Minister. Based on a complain, the Commissioner of Elections wrote to Chief Secretary of Uva Provincial Council, Secretary to the Governor, Secretaries of Uva Province Finance, Social Services and Electricity, Water Supply and Agricultural Development Ministries stating that candidates contesting under the Cock symbol have taken 10 vehicles from the above mentioned ministries for a vehicle procession on August 1, 2013. He added that allowing such an act goes against circular PCE/2013/4B issued by the Commissioner on the misuse of public property.

Whistleblowers: Candidates against Candidates The Commissioner of Elections wrote (PCE 2013/19/CP6) to Chief Secretary of Uva Provincial Council on August 07, 2013 requesting him to investigate allegations that vehicles no WP KP 9030, WP PS 0054, UP KR 5729 and UP PE 5506 are being used for electioneering. Responding to the Commissioner, the Secretary stated that WP PS 0054 has been assigned to S.Sivaraja, Secretary to the Provincial Minister of Electricity, Sports, Social Services and Estate Infrastructure, UP KR 5729 has been assigned to S.Selvendran, Coordinating Secretary of the same Minister and UPPE 5506 has been assigned to M.Sahir, Public Secretary of the Minister. Meanwhile vehicle no UP PE 3960 has been assigned to Mr. Sendil Thondaman as a backup vehicle. He added that those have been asked not to misuse these vehicles, however many election monitors had reported that those vehicles are being indeed used for Thondamans campaign. A vehicle (No 250-5007) belonging to the Ministry of Higher Education was taken to police custody on July 16, 2013 while pasting posters in Yatawatte PS. The Commissioner of Elections wrote (PCE 2013/19/MAT 1) to the Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education requesting him to take action. The son of Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mr. Chinthana Ekanayake is a contestant for the Matale District. The interesting factor is that a supporter of another UPFA candidate had requested a senior Police officer to take the vehicle into custody. The Police officer is a close friend of Hon. Minister Rohana Dissanayake, whose brother, Parakrama, is a candidate for the same district and both factions have been antagonistic from the beginning of campaigning. This is an indication that most complaints are made by UPFA supporters and candidates who are contesting against each other for preferential votes. This is very clear evidence that most of the complains CaFFE got regarding the abuse of public property is comes from the same party where members are contesting against each other.

Ministry of Fisheries vehicle used for campaigning in Laggala The Matale Election officials conducted an inspection tour in Laggla after they received information that around six vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Fisheries are being used for electioneering in the area. They inspected vehicle, 251-0527, belonging to the Ministry of Fisheries at the Irrigation Departments Circuit Bungalow in Vilgamuwa. It was also revealed that this circuit bungalow was being used for campaigning. The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) had previously complained to the Commissioner of Elections that vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Fisheries were being misused for election campaigning in Matale District. However officials attached to the Ministry denied CaFFEs allegations but CaFFE stick in to its allegation. The vehicle (251-0527 ) was driven by an individual named (driver) Rathnapala. He had arrived in Laggala three days ago with two other officials from NARA. However when Elections officials raided the Circuit Bungalow the lead field officer had disappeared. CaFFE observers had reported that this vehicle was being used for electioneering earlier in the day. CaFFE has continuously monitored the situation and the Ministry has stopped the building from being used from August 30. Vehicles and media equipment of the Ministry of Prisons and Rehabilitation were being used in Mullativu District for electioneering in support of a senior advisor of the Ministry who is contesting for the District. In addition steps were taken to involve rehabilitated youth in campaigning through a football tournament organized by Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera. Misuse of public property in the Northern Province is not limited to the UPFA. Tamil national Alliance (TNA) has been using two vehicles belonging to Karachchi Pradesheeya Sabha for campaigning. Not only the UPFA, but TNA does the same in North Taking over Public Space CaFFE has observed that throughout the pre-election period public space has been dominated by the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and that their candidates and had better access to carry out their political activities. Not only have the UPFA placed cutouts and posters in public areas but they have also used buildings of government institutions as election offices, boarding and dining establishments for

those canvassing. However not all candidates of the UPFA have equal access to public space. However public property is not only misused by UPFA candidates. CaFFE has observed candidates from other parties using public spaces like roads for their propaganda. The Kurunegala District, of the Northwestern Province, was one of the most competitive areas in the election with several high-profile, influential and well-funded candidates competing. Jehan Fernando, the son of Hon. Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade, Mr. Dayasiri Jayasekara, the crossover UNP MP slated to be the CM and former CM Mr. Athula Wijesinghe have all been accused of misusing public property for their campaigns. In addition, there are a number of relatives of MPs, Ministers and influential figures affiliated with the government, all competing for high preferential votes which would assure them of a ministerial position in the council, has made Kurunegala the most election-law-violated district. Matale and Kandy Districts, that have sons of two Ministers that of Lands and Prime Minister and several former councilors closely affiliated with several MPs contesting, has seen various state properties been misused. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) candidate Mr. Kandyaah Serveswaran has been using TNA MP Hon. S.Premachandrans On State Service envelopes and stamps given to MPs to send letters containing his propaganda material. Meanwhile UPFA candidate Mr. Parakrama Dissanayake has been distributing an envelope promoting him with the official seal of the Deputy Minister of Transport, Rohana Dissanayake, and stamps given to MPs, through post offices. Parakrama is the younger brother of Rohana Dissanayake. Commissioner of Elections wrote to the Post Master General, R Abeyrathne (PCE/2013/42) asking him to take action to prevent such actions using post offices in Jaffna and Matale.

Example of a MP using official postal material given to him LD Nimalasiri, father of the Chairman of the Galewela Pradesheeya Sabha Toshan

Rangana, who is contesting in the Kurunegala District has been using the resources of Galewela Pradesheeya Sabha for his campaign. The Commissioner of Elections wrote (PCE/2013/19/MAT/11) to the Secretary of Galewela Pradesheeya Sabha on August 9, 2013 requesting him to prevent such misuse. UNP MP Hon. Ranjith Aluwihare on August 02 made a complaint to the Commissioner of Elections stating that Parakrama Dissanayake the younger brother of Hon. Rohana Dissanayake is misusing vehicles and employees of the Railway Department for electioneering in Matale District. The Commissioner of Elections wrote (PCE 2013/19/MAT 8) to the Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and General Manager of the Railway Department on August 3 to prevent such action. Responding (GMR/DA/MIN/ 08/2013) to the Commissioner on August 5, the Secretary of the Ministry of Transport said that PC 2430 pick up truck has been assigned to Rohana Dissanayake. However, no employee of the Railway Department has been used for electioneering. Noticing that the above mentioned vehicle is a property of the Department, the Commissioner requested the Secretary of the Ministry of Transport that there is a possibility that the above mentioned vehicle can be used for electioneering and to take steps to prevent such an occurrence. The old District Secretariat of Nuwara Eliya was being used by Minister Hon. C.B.Rathnayake for election activities. Mr. S.B. Rathnayake the brother of the Minister is contesting in the Central Provincial Council. Officials attached to Hon. Minister Arumugam Thondaman and Hon. Navin Dissanayake are contesting for the Provincial Council elections and the Ministry offices in relevant areas are being used for election propaganda.

Irrigation Dept circuit bungalow misused Conducting an operation to detect public property misused in Matale Laggala area, after repeated requests by CaFFE, Election officials discovered that Irrigation Departments Circuit Bungalow in Vilgamuwa was being used for campaigning. It was revealed that politicians of UPFA had used this bungalow to house and feed their field operatives free of charge. After the revelation and the media attention the Department

of Irrigation closed down the bungalow on August 30. They even relax; enjoy the natural beauty, with the tax payers money Puttalam Additional Election Commissioner removed two offices, situated in an official residence of Puttalam District Engineering Office, at Good Shed Road, and in a government building in Puttalam City used by UPFA candidate Chinthaka Mayadunna. The candidate was also warned that if he did not hand over the residence by August 23, he would be penalized according to the Provincial Council Elections Act (No 2 of 1988.)

UPFA office that replaced Police post in Puttalam CaFFE wrote to the Commissioner of Elections on August 13 informing him that a SLFP office has been opened in a building that belongs to the Puttalam Municipal Council. Previously a police post operated previously from this building and was declared open by MP and Presidents son Namal Rajapaksa. Commissioner wrote to (PCE 2013/PUT 3) the General Secretary of the SLFP asking him to verify the process in which the building was occupied, and asking him to remove all cutouts of candidates as that violates election laws. Public Servants: Forgotten Handbooks Beyond mobilizing state infrastructure and assets, ruling parties can enlist the support of civil servants for electioneering. In the absence of an independent public service commission, often a career in the public service depends on the goodwill of the ruling party, which also in turn affects democracy and rule of law as the separation of state and party becomes difficult. CaFFE has received a large number of complaints where civil servants have been transferred, promoted and recruited and deployed for campaigning for ruling party

candidates, during the election period despite that such actions are against election laws and a direct transgression of Election Commissioners circular PCE/2013-06.

Two persons of NWP media engaging in election activities The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) wrote to Jayantha Wijeratne, Secretary of the Northwestern Provincial Council, expressing its dismay that some candidates are using media equipment and personnel of the provincial council. CaFFE observers sent photos that show two individuals who work in the provincial council media team using a camera which belongs to the same institute on the nomination day (July 31.) They are being used to take pictures which will later be used for propaganda activities. Due to the media coverage and CaFFEs pressure, the Commissioner of Elections wrote to the Chief Secretary (PCE 2013/19/KUR 27) on August 18 requesting him to investigate and take action. By the next day the two individuals of the media team, SAS Samarasinghe and Anuruddha Niroshan wrote to CaFFE Executive Director informing that the equipment has been handed over to the Provincial Council on August 13. It was reported that selected persons from Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullativu have been chosen as Samurdi officers and were invited to Sausiripaya on August 17 for training. Commissioner of Elections wrote to (PCE/2013/19/NP/4) the Commissioner General of the Samurdhi Authority on August 18 asking him to provide a report on the matter adding that he had already inquired about the said meeting on August 16 afternoon after he was informed by concerned parties. It is prohibited to recruit individuals from election held or other areas during election time and that recruitment of Samurdi officers or offering any Samurdhi benefits after the election should not be used to promote or to prevent the election of any party or candidate.

The Commissioner General of the Samurdhi Authority has misused his authority in sending a team of Samurdhi officers to Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullativu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna on August 22. In addition he has held meetings at Vijayaba Vidyalaya, Mahawa, and Polipithigamaon 25th and Alawwa Town on the 27th with the participation of Samurdhi officers, Provincial Ministers and candidates. Apart from the election monitors, Samurdhi Officers & newly recruited Graduates, the most Powerless & Abused UPFA MP and Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Nandimitra Ekanayake wrote to the Commissioner of Elections stating that during the Matale District Convention of Samurdhi Officers selected candidates were promoted. Elections Office Matale District wrote (PCE/2013/9 MAT) to the Director General of Samurdhi Authority on August 16 asking him to investigate allegations of such incidents and to deliver a report. Samurdhi Officers attached to Panduwasnuwara - East DS office and newly recruited graduates were forced to attend a election meeting of Kurunegala District UPFA candidate Jehan Fernando on August 27. They were transported in two buses (61-4282 and MB 1555.) Commissioner of Elections wrote to (PCE 2013/19/KUR 45) the Divisional Secretary of Panduwasnuwara - East to investigate the incident and to inform him what action has been taken against those who attended the meeting during working hours. CaFFE has also observed that Samurdhi officers are misused most in Maskeliya. Sometime they have been deployed to paste posters in the night, this can be specially seen in Ambagamuwa Pradesheeya Sabha. Newly recruited graduates have been forced to electioneer by the Chairman of Rideegala PS, Kurunegala. Commissioner of Elections wrote to (PCE 2013/19/KUR 46) Principal of Al-Minhaj Muslim College, Puttalam held a School Development Board meeting on August 23 to discuss what has been done using the funds received by Provincial Councillors. Commissioner of Elections wrote to (PCE 2013/19/PUT 19) Zonal Education Director, Puttalam on August 26 query the Principal on why such a meeting was called and to send a detailed report on the matter. A meeting was held on September 1, 2013 at Senior Minister SB Navinnas residence with the participation of around 5000 teachers of the Northwestern Province. UPFA candidates for Northwestern Provincial Council also attended the meeting. Northwestern Province Education Director JGN Thilakaratne, who is allegedly engaged in politics and is using his official vehicle for election activities, is said to have convened the meeting through phone calls in order not to leave a paper trail.

Commissioner of Elections wrote to (PCE 2013/19/KUR 43) Secretary, Ministry of Education of Northwestern Province on August 27 to prevent such activities after he was informed by CaFFE and teachers of the area. Minister of Cooperatives Johnston Fernando deployed around 100 employees of the Education Cooperatives Union on August 1to support election actives of his son Jehan who is a candidate for Northwestern Provincial Council. CaFFE informed the Commissioner of Elections that former Chief Minister of the Central Province Sarath Ekanayake was still using government officials who were attached to his erosional staff for electioneering although he no longer holds the position when the Council was dissolved. The Commissioner wrote (PCE 2013/19/KAN 15) to the Kandy Election office on August 18 to take action. School Principals in Operational Committees to influence Teachers

35 Grama Niladaris of Karaichchi DS in Kilinochchi were invited to Solaivanam restaurant by MP M Chandrakumar to obtain their support for the UPFA, TNA MP S Shritharan informed the Commissioner of Elections on August 26. Assistant Commissioner of Elections, Badulla who was sent there to investigate the allegation discovered that Vaithiyanathan Thawanathan, UPFA candidate for Kilinochchi, has ordered lunch for 40 people on August 7. Sunil K Amarathunga, UPFA candidate for Central Province, called principals of Kundasale education zone for a meeting Walala A Rathnayake Central College and appointed a committee comprising of principals to secure the vote of school teachers. Amarathungas wife, Sujatha de Silva is that Director of the Kundasale Education Zone. Education officers supporting UPFA candidates used a four day training program, from August 12- 16, for newly recruited graduate teachers of Theldeniya Education Zone. Commisioner of Elections wrote to (PCE 2013/19/CP 7) the Secretary of the Ministry of Education on August 20 stating that such meetings should be held without the participation of politicians during election times and to postpone them if its unavoidable that politicians would participate. Commissioner of Elections cancelled an event scheduled for August 8, 2013 to deliver appointment letters to graduates and Development Officers at Medadumbara DS office

by former Chief Minister of Central Province, Sarath Ekanayake. He also wrote to (PCe 2013/9/KAN 5) the Kandy District Secretary on August 7 to hold the meeting without the participation of politicians and to inform him whether prior connect of the Commissioner was sought before this event was arranged.

UPFA candidate M. Remedius at an event organized by Army United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidate for Northern Province, M Remedius attended an event organized by the Army on August 19 in Nawanthurei, Jaffna. When Election officials in Jaffna arrived to investigate the incident they were obstructed by Army officials. Misuse of Public Property Creates a System of Dependence

CaFFE, after obtaining photographic evidence, wrote to Election Authorities stating that this was an attempt to gain political mileage and requested all political party leaders and general secretaries must take action to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring. Although opposition political parties had continuously alleged that the Security Forces are being used for electioneering, CaFFE was the first stakeholder to obtain concrete evidence of such activity. CaFFE images initially appeared on several news sites and Daily Lakbima paper and was later used by Tamil newspapers. Our evidence was later used by political parties and others campaigning for free and fair elections to lobby for the removal of Army from election related activities.

NP Governor at a meeting with MP Basil Rajapaksa Governor of the Northern Province GA Chandrasiri has been actively engaged in campaigning for UPFA candidates in the Northern Province. After he made several high profile appearances CaFFE wrote to the Election Commissioner asking him to communicate with the Governor regarding the negative impact of such appearances. CaFFE also wrote to Chandrasiri on September 11 explaining that as an official directly appointed by the President he must not engage in politics and that if he plans to continue electioneering he must resign from the post. The Commissioner issued a statement requesting all Governors not to engage in election propaganda on September 11. However Chandrasiri told media that he has the right to engage in politics. Conclusion Misuse of Public Property is an election law violation which often receives little public attention. It is not visible unlike illegal election propaganda or election related violence thus receives little media attention. However often it is the most important election law violation because it is an extremely persuasive tool to tilt public support to the party wielding it. This is achieved not only through immediate material gain but also by creating a system of dependence. Thus CaFFE observes that misuse of Public Property as the most crucial election law violation in the pre election period. Note This report is based on, and the incidents highlighted, are those that CaFFE had a direct or indirect involvement. The numbers of complaints we have received are much higher and will be included in our final report on the misuse of public property.

By Rathindra Kuruwita Assisted by Aravinda Rathnayake Nishada Jayasinghe Niroshan Peiris Manjula Kumara Consultant Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon Design Sanjeewa Madushan