Second Preference Vote for Gota ? Sajith ? – Hisbullah

Election Political

Social media streams were abuzz on 3rd November with a statement that claimed Former Governor of Eastern Province Dr. M.L.A.M Hizbullah had stated that his second preference vote should be given to Gotabya Rajapaksa. Number of Facebook users and pages had shared this news since there were already rumors that M.L.A.M Hizbullah is only contesting as a dummy contestant and the real agenda behind his candidacy for the elections is to ensure support for SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa. 

Below is one of such instances where a Facebook page called “Politics පිස්සා” among many others had shared this news with a screenshot of the Sunday Observer online edition.

Facebook LinkArchived LinkFacebook Link 2Archived Link 2

These claims were revisited when some users shared a video of Hisbullah claiming he is a “රාජපක්ෂ හුරතලා” translating to “Rajapaksa Pet” and that he had indeed quoted as saying to cast second vote for Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Whereas few others quoting similar video content mentioned “හිස්බුල්ලාගේ සහායත් සජිත්ට… මෙන්න සාක්ෂි!” translating to “Hisbullah supports Sajith – here’s the proof”

Facebook Video Link Facebook Video Link

Since there are multiple claims stating Hisbullah had requested to vote for both Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa we decided to do a fact-check on these claims.

Fact Check  

Since it was a newspaper article which had been the root cause of all the social media posts we decided to have a look at the original news published by the Sunday Observer as shown below. articleArchived LinkEpaper ObserverArchived Link

The article claimed that “Launching his manifesto last Monday (28th October) Presidential candidate M L A M Hizbullah called for his voters to cast their second preferential vote in favour of Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the November 16 poll, appearing to confirm speculation that the Eastern Province strongman was being fielded at the behest of the SLPP”

Since MLAM Hizbullah is usually quite active on social media with many of his speeches being broadcast live on his official Facebook page we decided to have a closer look at the statements he had made during the launch of his manifesto. Below is the Facebook live video of the same

Facebook Live (MLAM Hisbullah Manifesto launch)

In this presidential candidate MLAM Hisbullah speaks from 77th minute to 130th minute. We listened to this entire speech and were not able to find a place where, he specifically mentioned to cast second preferential vote for Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

However in this lengthy speech, MLAM Hisbullah had spoken about casting second preferential vote using example like A & B without mentioning any individual names. Also in his speech, Hisbullah mentioned that the Muslim community were attacked many times during past four and half years hence to think carefully before choosing to cast the second preferential vote. Hence he requested the gathering to cast the second vote to which ever candidates’ manifesto which addressed the Muslim community needs.

Below is an extract from MLAM Hisbullah Manifesto where he elaborates on one instance about the Muslim community. 

MLAM Hisbullah Manifesto (Sinhala)

Follow up to the article and the Social Media posts we had noticed a video released by the Dr. MLAM Hizbullah official Facebook page in which Attorney Ajantha Lakmal and Hiraz Hisbullah commented after filing a formal complaint at the Election Commission condemning the statement made by Sunday Observer.

Facebook Link – Complain at EC

Furthermore, we came across a twitter statement made by Lisa Fuller, including a voice recording said to be of MLAM Hisbullah, who appears to be stating in response to a question that it is “completely false” and “we never informed anyone that we were going to support a particular candidate.” Tweet is shown below 

Twitter Lisa FullerArchived Link

Observing the replies for this tweet we noticed varied opinions, with some mentioning Hisbullah is playing a double game while few had inquired @observerlk for an explanation regarding the same, yet we didn’t see any replies from Sunday Observer.

Therefore we decided to reach Sunday Observer Editor to get the opinion of the editorial regarding the published article via email and phone, yet there was no reply from Sunday Observer. 

Over a week after the initial incident we noticed video posted yesterday (11th of November), pinned to the top of MLAM Hisbullah official Facebook page in which he had mentioned clearly to identify his symbol (Camel) and cast “1” to give first vote to him and then based on your preference cast “2” to either Sajith Premadasa (Swan) or Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Pohottuwa-Lotus bud)

Hisbullah Video on how to cast vote Archived Video

Therefore, from his statement he has clearly mentioned to cast the second preferential vote for either of the candidates based on voter preference.


Hence from our investigation, we didn’t find any instance during the launching of the manifesto of presidential candidate MLAM Hisbullah, where it was mentioned that his 2nd preferential vote should be given to Gotabaya Rajapaksa. However yesterday in a video release he has asked his followers that after casting first vote for him based on your preference 2nd vote could be given to either Sajith Premadasa or Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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Title:Second Preference Vote for Gota ? Sajith ? – Hisbullah

Fact Check By: Sathyajith Subasinghe 

Result: Partly False

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