Sri Lanka presidential election results clean, campaign dirty: polls chief

Feb 03, 2010 (LBO) – Results of Sri Lanka’s recently concluded presidential poll was clean, contrary to complaints of malpractices, but election campaigning was unfair, the head of the elections department said. “The campaign period – I’m not satisfied; the election results – I stand by it, elections commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake told reporters at a media conference.

“The elections commission made sure the results tallied.”

The campaign for the January 26 poll, which was won by incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa with a clear majority over his rival, former army chief Sarath Fonseka, was marred by violence.

The opposition also alleged the government used state machinery and media to canvass support during the campaign, abuse of election law that Dissanayake himself had complained about.

Fonseka has refused to accept the result, alleging counting malpractices and said he would challenge the result in court

Dissanayake called for changes to the electoral system that would result in a better ˜political culture’.

Dissanayake said the island’s political culture had been deteriorating for a couple of decades with violence and malpractice virtually routine during electio