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EC says not proper to comment on 'coup' till probe's end

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Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya told journalists today (January 23) that he was unaware of an attempted military ‘coup’ during election night on January 8. However, Deshapriya said this did not mean there was no conspiracy and the matter should be investigated by authorities concerned to determine the truth before he can offer further comment.

Addressing a media briefing at the Elections Secretariat, the Elections Commissioner insisted no one had tried to pressure the Department of Elections to withhold results. He stressed this did not mean that complaints made regarding an attempted coup were false. “It is for the relevant authorities to conduct investigations and determine whether there is any truth to them,” he said.

However, the Elections Commissioner also said he ‘could not dismiss outright’ reports that in some areas, the military had tried to collect details of officials involved in election duties. Nevertheless, he said it may have been that security concerns had necessitated the gathering of such information.

Deshapriya also revealed that some districts secretariats, including the ones at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa had received ‘inquiries’ from the military whether extra security was needed for them.

He confirmed the Elections Department had received complaints of military units being deployed at various locations in Colombo and elsewhere, with multiple complaints received regarding troop deployments in Negombo. “I believe those who made these complaints know more about what happened than we do,” he added.

The Elections Commissioner also admitted there had been a delay in issuing results from 3.18am to 4.11am on January 9. However, this was sorely due to a technical fault that had arisen in the computer system and not because of any sinister attempt to withhold results, he assured. 

Last modified on Friday, 23 January 2015 16:59
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