The Sunday Leader

No Vote For Fonseka

By Michael Hardy

What happened to his vote?

What was he thinking? That was the question on election day last week when General Sarath Fonseka admitted that he was unable to cast a ballot for himself because his name was not on the registration list. Taking advantage of this surprise revelation, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign team immediately called a press conference to declare that Fonseka was ineligible to be president. Never mind whether or not this was true.

(Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake quickly confirmed that it wasn’t.) It was sensational. The President must have enjoyed imagining the next day’s headlines: “Opposition candidate not allowed to vote for himself.”

Although the government’s lies said more about their own insecurity than about Fonseka’s eligibility (if they were confident of victory, why threaten to block Fonseka’s election?), the question remained: How had Fonseka failed to register? The UNF’s first answer — that Fonseka had sent in his registration card in 2008 but somehow hadn’t made it onto the voting rolls — was implausible. After all, wouldn’t Fonseka have checked his registration status before election day? The only possible answer was the simplest one: Fonseka, like so many other busy people, just forgot to register. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera confirmed that Fonseka failed to send in his registration application.

“In 2008 when the last registry was being prepared, Fonseka was unable to submit his papers,” Samaraweera said. “He was far too busy — this was the height of the war.”

But was Fonseka really “unable” to register? Surely the Commander of the Army could have asked one of his minions to fetch him an application. As with many other busy people, it would seem, registering to vote slipped his mind. How could he have guessed that in a year he would be running for president against the man whose orders he was currently following? That explains why Fonseka didn’t register in 2008, but what about in late 2009 when he began considering a run for office? Either it was too late to register or — more likely — Fonseka was too embarrassed to admit he wasn’t eligible to vote and wanted to conceal this fact until the last moment.

The UPFA, meanwhile, continues to use this to impugn Fonseka’s reputation. Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, speaking to The Sunday Leader, accused Fonseka of never registering to vote even before the most recent election.

“He was not interested in getting himself registered to vote for the 2007 election either,” Senaratne said. “He may never have voted. His family members weren’t registered either.

The UNP and the JVP never checked whether he was registered.” (Senaratne went on to suggest that Fonseka didn’t register to vote because he holds an American Green Card, a baseless accusation already rejected by the Elections Commissioner.)

According to Samaraweera, however, Fonseka didn’t mention his ineligibility to vote because he considered it irrelevant to the campaign.

“Many people aren’t registered to vote, so Fonseka didn’t see the need to tell the public,” Samaraweera said. “He revealed that he wasn’t registered when the government tried to make this into a huge issue just before the polls closed. When the issue came up he told the truth.”

No matter what the explanation, no one can deny the curiosity of a presidential candidate who isn’t able to vote for himself. Nearly every foreign media report from Sri Lanka mentioned this strange turn of events, adding an additional twist to the already gnarled narrative of the country’s sixth presidential election. Minister Senaratne told The Sunday Leader that he has never heard of such a thing happening in any election around the world, and a quick Google search seems to confirm the validity of his observation.

In the end, though, Fonseka’s non-registration was a side-show to the momentous events of the past week and a reminder that not everything that happens during an election can be attributed to some sinister conspiracy. Politicians are human (at least we think so), and humans make mistakes. If only all their mistakes were as innocent as Fonseka’s.

42 Comments for “No Vote For Fonseka”

  1. DA

    Fonseka blamed the Rajapakshes for the omission, in the interview he did at the Hotel corridor with a foreign journalist, surely his mind is unstable, if he says one thing during the day and another at night, or he is deliberately lying at one instance?

    • JP

      It’s about time we realize what a “jerk” he is!

    • ධනුන බෑණා

      මීට මාස කීපයකට පෙර දේශප්‍රේමී රණ සෙන්පතියකු ලෙස රටේම ගෞරව බහුමානයට පාත්‍ර වූ කීර්තිමත් හමුදාපතිවරයා තමාට නුසුදුසු, නොගැලපෙන සහ කළ නොහැකි දෙයක්‌ වූ දේශපාලනයට අවතීර්ණ වී අවසානයේදී දේශෙද්‍රෝහී ලේබලය ද ගසාගෙන පරාජිත දේශපාලනඥයකුගේ තත්ත්වයට ඇද වැටීම කොතරම් ඛේදජනක ද යන්න ජෙනරාල් සරත් ෆොන්සේකාට සහ ඔහු එම අගාධයට තල්ලු කර දැමූ දේශපාලන හා මාධ්‍ය අවස්‌ථාවාදීන්ට අද අත්වී තිබෙන ඉරණම දෙස බැලීමේදී පෙනී යයි. යුද ජයග්‍රහණයේ යුද නායකත්වය පිළිබඳ ගෞරවය සහ හිමිකම ජෙනරාල් සරත් ෆොන්සේකාට පමණක්‌ තනිව හිමි විය යුතු දෙයක්‌ නොවන බවත්, යුද්ධය ජය ගැනීමට ප්‍රධාන වශයෙන් හේතු වූ දේශපාලන නායකත්වයේ එකම හිමිකරුවා ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා පමණක්‌ බවත් සාමයට හිතැති රටේ බහුතරයක්‌ වන කළ ගුණ දත් දේශප්‍රේමී ජනතාව මෙවර ජනාධිපතිවරණය තුළින් තහවුරු කර ඇත. පොදු අපේක්‍ෂක සරත් ෆොන්සේකා ඔහු ත්‍රස්‌තවාදයට එරෙහිව රජය කළ යුද මෙහෙයුමේදී කවර වීරෝදාර භූමිකාවක්‌ නිරූපණය කළද ජනාධිපතිවරණය තුළ කටයුතු කළේ මේ බෙදුම්වාදීන් සමඟ එක පෙළටය. ආර්. සම්බන්ධන් වැනි මේ සක්‍රීය බෙදුම්වාදී නායකයන් සමඟ උරෙන් උර ගැටී ඔහු දියත් කළ මැතිවරණ ව්‍යාපාරය දකුණේ ඵල නොදරන සැටිද ඊළාම් සිතියමට අදාළ ප්‍රදේශ තුළ ඵල දරන සැටිද තේරුම් ගැනීමට කිසිවකුත් මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ වාදියකු විය යුතු නැත. තම සටන අතහැර නොමැති බෙදුම්වාදී සහ එල්. ටී. ටී. ඊ. වාදී ලෝක ඩයස්‌පෝරාවේත්, ආර්. සම්බන්ධන් වැනි ටී. එන්. ඒ. නායකයන්ගේත් මැදිහත්වීමෙන් ප්‍රකාශයට පත්කෙරුණු ඒ ජයග්‍රහණය ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය දිනා ගැනීමේ හෝ දූෂණයට එරෙහිව නැගී සිටීමේ හෝ ජයග්‍රහණයක්‌ වශයෙන් හැඳින්වීම චීස්‌ යෑයි සිතා සබන් කෑල්ලක්‌ අනුභව කිරීමක්‌ වැනිය..

    • DJ

      his right hand doesn’t know what his left hand is doing.you are useless go back to USA.

  2. ධනුන බෑණා

    මීට මාස කීපයකට පෙර දේශප්‍රේමී රණ සෙන්පතියකු ලෙස රටේම ගෞරව බහුමානයට පාත්‍ර වූ කීර්තිමත් හමුදාපතිවරයා තමාට නුසුදුසු, නොගැලපෙන සහ කළ නොහැකි දෙයක්‌ වූ දේශපාලනයට අවතීර්ණ වී අවසානයේදී දේශෙද්‍රෝහී ලේබලය ද ගසාගෙන පරාජිත දේශපාලනඥයකුගේ තත්ත්වයට ඇද වැටීම කොතරම් ඛේදජනක ද යන්න ජෙනරාල් සරත් ෆොන්සේකාට සහ ඔහු එම අගාධයට තල්ලු කර දැමූ දේශපාලන හා මාධ්‍ය අවස්‌ථාවාදීන්ට අද අත්වී තිබෙන ඉරණම දෙස බැලීමේදී පෙනී යයි. යුද ජයග්‍රහණයේ යුද නායකත්වය පිළිබඳ ගෞරවය සහ හිමිකම ජෙනරාල් සරත් ෆොන්සේකාට පමණක්‌ තනිව හිමි විය යුතු දෙයක්‌ නොවන බවත්, යුද්ධය ජය ගැනීමට ප්‍රධාන වශයෙන් හේතු වූ දේශපාලන නායකත්වයේ එකම හිමිකරුවා ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා පමණක්‌ බවත් සාමයට හිතැති රටේ බහුතරයක්‌ වන කළ ගුණ දත් දේශප්‍රේමී ජනතාව මෙවර ජනාධිපතිවරණය තුළින් තහවුරු කර ඇත. පොදු අපේක්‍ෂක සරත් ෆොන්සේකා ඔහු ත්‍රස්‌තවාදයට එරෙහිව රජය කළ යුද මෙහෙයුමේදී කවර වීරෝදාර භූමිකාවක්‌ නිරූපණය කළද ජනාධිපතිවරණය තුළ කටයුතු කළේ මේ බෙදුම්වාදීන් සමඟ එක පෙළටය. ආර්. සම්බන්ධන් වැනි මේ සක්‍රීය බෙදුම්වාදී නායකයන් සමඟ උරෙන් උර ගැටී ඔහු දියත් කළ මැතිවරණ ව්‍යාපාරය දකුණේ ඵල නොදරන සැටිද ඊළාම් සිතියමට අදාළ ප්‍රදේශ තුළ ඵල දරන සැටිද තේරුම් ගැනීමට කිසිවකුත් මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ වාදියකු විය යුතු නැත. තම සටන අතහැර නොමැති බෙදුම්වාදී සහ එල්. ටී. ටී. ඊ. වාදී ලෝක ඩයස්‌පෝරාවේත්, ආර්. සම්බන්ධන් වැනි ටී. එන්. ඒ. නායකයන්ගේත් මැදිහත්වීමෙන් ප්‍රකාශයට පත්කෙරුණු ඒ ජයග්‍රහණය ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය දිනා ගැනීමේ හෝ දූෂණයට එරෙහිව නැගී සිටීමේ හෝ ජයග්‍රහණයක්‌ වශයෙන් හැඳින්වීම චීස්‌ යෑයි සිතා සබන් කෑල්ලක්‌ අනුභව කිරීමක්‌ වැනිය.

    • Ravin

      shelaye saba wiruwa sarath fonseka saha soldaduwan pamani. Yuda kalayedi gota hitiye USA hi computer operator warayek washayeni..a maknisada…mawbimata ati adaraya nisa…hikz pana palayan perera kiwwalu api nodanna itihase….rate bahutara janatawa a kalayedi bombayata bili wiya…aney danuna bano

  3. Stephen Jones

    Perhaps Fonseka and his family are cleverer than we thought, and realized that it didn’t matter a damn who you voted for, you still got a load of rascals.

  4. Sarath.Jayasiriwardena

    Very soon he will loose his citizenship in Srilanka.

    • Silva

      That is the reward you should give to a Army Commander who led the Army to wipe out terrorism from the Country.

      • MDK

        Definitely yes! because even though he did the good deed of wiping out terrorism he reversed all that by making false allegations against his own soldiers and generals of war crimes.

    • Janaka

      ……. He never forget to renew his “GREEN CARD”. ha ha ha

  5. Roi

    Fonseka probably never been registered to vote, the reason may be he never believed in democracy. It shows clearly not accepting the defeat. If not such an absent mined man how he decide as that he is the winner as election votes are very personal and confidential. Sometime you are not sure your own family whom to vote. What a JERK.

  6. Manoj

    SF is mentally,Physically defeated and well desserved.He really had know clue whats happenning around especailly the jokers of opposition politicians such as Ranil,Mangala,Mano,Somawansa.Certain comments made by those people are not very pallatable for politics and for the people of Sri Lanka and hammerring the Rajapakse familly in and out but finally people showed who is doing work for the country and who is best for the job letting those idiots where to hide

    • MP

      There are no words to describe how miserable Sri Lankans can be to elect a corrupt thug of a president to rule the country. Enough with the blatant corruption that the government so openly enjoys. This ongoing corruption is unacceptable and must be stopped as soon as possible to ensure a proper development for the country. Along with corruption, democracy and freedom of expression must be restored before Sri Lanka becomes the next Cuba or Iran. Enough is enough!

      • MDK

        Enough is enough!! thats exactly the verdict which the nation gave on the 26th of January 2010. Now just live with it man!! the nation has spoken.. so its time for you to shut up!

        • u silly piece of faeces, people do keep their mouth shut cos they know what happens to all those people who open their mouth. gooda mahindas thug democracy takes over and the thug rule of law dispenses justice to those unfortunate critics.

          u suckers can go on howling at us from a position of thug strength because nothing is gonna happen to u piece of faeces.

  7. Kumarnada

    I could recall presidential candidate Hector Cobbekaduwa was unable to vote when he contested against JR Jayawardena in 1982 because someone else had already used his ballot paper. He was given a different colour ballaot paper to vote but it would not be counted as per the election law. Hector Cobbekaduwa was nominated as the SLFP presidential candidate as civil’s rights of Srimavo Bandaranayakes were deprived by JR Jayawardena.

  8. Nandaguptha

    People are human and they make mistakes and they will pay for their mistakes. Mangala is giving all kind of excuses to defend Fonseka, because he is the one who pull this guy to this unnecessary escapade. It is too late; he has to understand the game. The main element of the election is casting a vote to elect the person of your choice. If the person who is running does not care to register, it talks a great deal about his belief in participatory democracy. Should we elect a person who does not believe in democracy, and who does not care for his civic duties? This is a basic right and it is a basic duty of a citizen to exercise his voting rights, and this man was running for presidency of the country. It is not a mistake it is a proof of his character, the opposing party has the responsibility to the people to expose the character. People should not try to whitewash this negligence as mistakes.

  9. BK

    FONSEKA WON THE ELECTION ANYWAY

  10. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Dear Mr.Nandagupta,
    In 2005 Elections I went to the polling booth(Kandy) for my vote but my name not appeared in the register. I offered all my identity cards to the officers but I was rejected. I don’t care that but I found what happend to my vote.
    my home people properly filled the Form and handed over to the Grama Sevake(GS). The GS cut my name as I was serving in Polonnaruwa District as an engineer. One day I met him and asked what happend? He told me that I was living far away from the home town and he cut down my name because some people use to put the address for admission of children from other provinces.I think the same could happend to Hon.SF too as he was serving far away from the home town.
    This may be an administrative problem.

    • Eddi

      How that can happen SF was all along was in CMB. At least his family was in Colombo and Army officers do not get name cut out by Gramasevaka, especially high ranking personnel’s…………..If that is a excuse for his name wasn’t on the register…that is a pathetic one…

      • Silva

        There were so many people who were searching their names in the registers to see why they didn’t receive their vote paper in the Post Offices as well as in the Election Secretariat. Of course this was shown in the private channels. Even my mother whose name has been entered into the application do not have a vote. Many human errors could happen. Besides SF must have never thought at that time that he will one day will be contesting not for Presidency , but even for a MP post. During his carrier he did not take any side in Politics .

    • MDK

      EXCUSE ME PEOPLE!!! MANGALA ITSELF ADMITTED THAT SARATH FAILED TO EVEN FILL HIS REGISTRATION FORM!!!! read the above news article without just reading the headline.

      “The only possible answer was the simplest one: Fonseka, like so many other busy people, just forgot to register.

      Speaking to The Sunday Leader, SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera confirmed that Fonseka failed to send in his registration application.

      “In 2008 when the last registry was being prepared, Fonseka was unable to submit his papers,” Samaraweera said. “He was far too busy — this was the height of the war.”

    • Janaka

      BUT…. He never forget to renew his “GREEN CARD”. ha ha ha

  11. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Dear Mr.Eddi,
    I don’t know whether my experience relates to Hon.SF but that same administrative error occured to other people too in the same polling booth and don’t forget that they were a mixed composition(SLFP,UNP, JVP….ete). In this case we have to forget party politics.
    we have to do lot of things to upgrade our Administrative system introducing Advanced Computarisation considering the people as clients. I came to know through a Sinhala newspaper that second hand computers were installed in some Administrative offices all over the country with a Foreign Funded Project.if it is true what a crime?

    • Tikiri

      Pali – (You have got a Bad gramasewaka ) next time read the news article in full before jump to conclusions .. Mangala has accepted its an oversight by SF .. chapter close :)

  12. jayathilaka

    GEN; FONSEKA ‘SNAME WAS NOT REGISTERED OR NOT INTHE ELECTION REGISTRY IS NOT A BIG DEAL WHAT IS BIG DEAL IS WETHER THE ELECTION WAS FREE AND FAIR.

  13. Shaik

    I am not entirely convinced that Sarath Fonseka simply forgot to register. The question nobody seems to have asked is whether he is registered to vote in USA. I am sure the answer to this is yes and it was the guilt in his conscience for having two votes that must have stopped him registering in Colombo as well.

  14. hamlet

    I f SF’s name was not on the Electoral list whose fault was that?. How does anyone know that he/she is not on the Electoral Roll? Does the Govt send out reminders to every citizen by Post, Email or even Mobile Phone!
    The Govt organisation that looked after those aspects of the Election should be overhauled to make sure that every person entitled to vote is be on the voting lists. In other democratic countries people are punished for not casting their vote or questioned as to why they did not vote. We hope that a thorough check of the voting lists is done before the general Election by the relevant Authorities.

  15. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Dear Mr.Shaik,
    You must ask this question from Mr.Gotabaya Rajapakse or mr.Basil Rajapakse who are citizens of the USA.

  16. James

    We said Mr. Hardy! It’s ridiculous why people make such a big deal out of SF being unable to vote. It’s not required as the EC said, and he merely lost a couple of votes for himself, not MR. He may have submitted the paper late like we did, and so lost the chance to vote this time. Perhaps he didnt care about politics and voting at that time. Who would when your fighting the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world? He was certainly right not to tell anyone before. Why give another pointless reason for the “cheerleaders” to scream about? They are just very sad to have gotten to know it at the last minute!! At least we spectators were spared of that!

  17. Kingkong

    Who said that Fonseka was busy with the war that is why he could not send her papers to register a a voter. He had time to go to China during the last stages of the war when things were really crucial. The forms are normally collected from your residence and you need not take it anywhere. I tell you these people were lying during the campaign. JVP says something, UNP says something else. Fonseka says something in the morning and something else in the evening. Mangala appears with some JVP jokers in front of the press with some paper cuttings to prove what they say but just garbage. So everyone lost his/her trust in this group of losers. Fonseka lost his own birth place, Ambalangoda and so is Mangala , Matara!
    1.8 million majority shows the strength of the President. Countryside solidly stood by the president. More they keep on defending more votes they will lose in the next general election. As I see it Fonseka is not normal now…….every hour we hear something new from him. Poor Fonny, it is JVP gave him the D-Rope to contest. Somawansa has to be careful, Fonny is a dangerous guy any time he can burst out.
    Old man could fly in the air. You will read this news very soon in the newspapers!

  18. hamlet

    Judging from the comments that appear in your newspaper, SriLankans cannot think rationally. It is all emotional and vituperative personal rubbish.

  19. sivalingam

    Ha ha ha Sri Lanka
    What a joke

    • Tikiri

      Common .. don’t disgrace the millions who voted .. its a one man joke factory

    • nambadal

      At least, you can laugh from your mourning of losing your “leader” who asked 14 year olds to chew Cynide & he came in all his fours to surrender and beg pardon. You must be ashamed of yourself before talking of Lankan politics. Isn’t it better to keep your mouth shut and keep mourning till you get an Eelam in your next birth.

  20. Tikiri

    Guys .. can someone pls clarify whether a dual citizen is eligible for a vote in both countries ?

  21. Kingkong

    JVP selected this mut with some purpose of manipularing him the way they want-if he wins- Many didn’t know that wa a big IF and not a small one. This is the first time a presidential candidate who didn’t have a vote in the whole world. He didn’t have time to register his name but had plenty of time to go to USA to renew his Green Card. So this is the type of man some people wanted to make the president of our country.We thank God millions time for it did not happen. Some people were dancing the devil seeing the support for him in Colombo not knowing how strong Mahinda was in the country side and in other provinces except North and East. Sarath is ideal to serve as the Eelam president since his own home town, Ambalangoda has rejected him by a big margin. I would suggest that he should go back to his second home USA and live peacefully with his family. If stays longer JVP will take what is left of him . Make a personal appeal to the president and seek his pardon for all the nasty things you said about him, in return for all the favours he did for you. What an ungrateful person are you. You don’t, definitely, suiot our country. JVP and UNP said there is an exodus in the government camp but now see where the exodus is? They offloded truck loads of lies, this is one of the reasons for the people to hate them.

  22. FEROZ AUSTRALIA

    what is the point of voting when BR go to election commissioner and threat him.Why is the hell, he has to see independent election commisioner other than threatenning him and got release rigged results.
    Ask all this guys, did they really won by democratic means.????????????????
    Disgusting, For telling the truth asked to leave Swedish lady to get out.
    we all knew the truth, we knew who won the poeple hearts and minds.
    No matter what you do, you will punished for your sin ( example Praba.)

    • nambadal

      Another example SF. Do you reckon all the Lankans are gulilble like you to believe that an electio can be rigged like this? What were the SF’s henchmen who officiated at polling booths, counting centres and so on doing? Were all of them deaf & blind? We feel relly sorry for people like you.

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