By Azra Ameen
A total number of 3,073 candidates from recognized political parties and independent groups will be contesting the forthcoming Provincial Council polls in the North-Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces.
The acceptance of the nominations ended without any interruptions or problems with the enthusiastic participation of candidates at 12 noon at the three Provinces yesterday, according to the Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya.
The Elections Department has announced that the Provincial Council polls for the Eastern, North-Western and the Sabaragamuwa Provinces will take place on 8 September.
Some 1, 454 candidates from 86 independent groups and 1,619 candidates from 89 recognized political parties will be contesting in the three provinces.
From the registered political parties, two nominations from the Ratnapura and Trincomalee Districts had been rejected, while nominations for two independent groups from the Kegalle and Ampara Districts were rejected.
The security was tightened specially in the Eastern Province when the prime political parties handed over their nominations at the Government Secretariat yesterday. The candidates of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) including the Chief candidate and the former Parliamentarian K. Thurairajasingam said threats were issued at him and several other TNA candidates until the last moment they submitted the nominations yesterday.
Minister Susil Premjayantha was at the Government Secretariat along with former Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan at the Batticaloa Secretariat when the nominations were handed over.
The data of the voter registration for the three Provinces are as follows: Eastern Province 10, 33,749. North-Central Province: 9, 00,872. Sabaragamuwa Province: 14, 01,794.
The total number of voters from the three Provinces are 33, 36,415, according to the Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya.
A total of 114 councillors will be elected from all three Provinces.
The total number of polling centres will be 3,247. Batticaloa: 414. Ampara: 464. Trincomalee: 285. Anuradhapura: 608. Polonnaruwa: 287. Ratnapura: 623. Tangalle: 566.
A special meeting will be convened by the Commissioner of Elections today at the Elections Department with regard to the security arrangements and the activities of the political parties with the police officials from the Election Secretariat and the Secretaries of the political parties.
The Election Chief also said there were fewer incidents and no big incidents have taken place prior to the submission of nominations. He said, so far it seemed good.
He also said, “The election period will create a carnival atmosphere among the general public. But the candidates and their supporters should know their limits.
When Ceylon Today contacted Executive Director of Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE), Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, he said, eight incidents have been reported so far from the three provinces. Illegal Parades organized by the political parties were also reported.
Most of the incidents have been reported from the Pollonaruwa, Ampara, Trincomalee and Ratnapura Districts.
He also said, most of these incidents are where the parties have made public announcements while displaying banners and posters and several vehicle parades have also been witnessed. There were also several cases where public properties were used for procession purposes.
The three Provincial Councils were dissolved on 27 June.