NGO monitors complain of organised attempt to harass defeated female candidates



By Rathindra Kuruwita


A systematic country wide campaign is being carried out to demoralise female candidates who lost at the February 10 local government election, polls monitors claimed yesterday adding that it would have an adverse impact on future female political representation.


National Coordinator of Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), Manjula Gajanayake said they had received a significant number of complaints that organised groups were harassing defeated female candidates.


"Most of the female candidates who contested from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) have won their wards while 90% of female candidates fielded by other parties have lost. We have reports that organised groups gather near the houses of defeated candidates and insult them. There are also reports that firecrackers are thrown into their houses. I think most of these incidents go unreported."


Gajanayake said the CMEV had informed the police and party secretaries of the disturbing developments which had the potential to discourage women from taking to active politics. "It took great efforts to ensure that there was 25% female political representation in local councils. It also took a lot of time to convince women of the need to contest. But, if the families of female candidates are harassed, women won’t contest elections in the future.


Executive Director of Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Keerthi Tennakoon said they had also received many complaints from defeated female candidates. He added that if immediate steps were not taken it would be impossible for political parties to find female candidates for the coming provincial council elections.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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