C’wealth observers meet political parties

19 September 2013 06:04 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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While calling on all the stakeholders to play their part to ensure that the remaining days of the electoral process, the visiting Commonwealth election observers said on Wednesday that they already held talks with political parties and elections officials.

“I call on all stakeholders to play their part to ensure that the remaining days of the electoral process promote confidence in voters to freely exercise their franchise, thereby marking a forward step in the post-conflict development of the Northern Province,” the former Vice President of Kenya Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka said issuing a statement.

Musyoka, who is heading the four-member mission said, “We have already met with political parties, the Commissioner of Elections, domestic observers and international partners in Colombo. Over the coming days we will be meeting with relevant stakeholders in the Northern Province, including party representatives, civil society and the media.”

The full statement

Following an invitation from the Commissioner of Elections, the Commonwealth Secretary-General has constituted an Observer Mission to the 2013 Northern Provincial Council Elections in Sri Lanka. It is my honour and privilege to have been asked to lead the Mission, and to be in Sri Lanka for these landmark elections.

Our Mission has been drawn from across the Commonwealth, and includes persons with political, electoral and local government experience. The mission compromises Ms Jenni McMullan, Former Electoral Officer for Victoria, Australia; Dr Shamsul Huda, Former Chief Election Commissioner, Bangladesh; and Ms Examin Philbert Secretary, Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities, St Lucia.

Our task is to consider all the factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole, and to assess whether the election is conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Sri Lanka has committed itself, with reference to its own election legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and other international commitments.

We will consider, among other things, whether conditions exist for free and competitive elections; whether the Elections Commission is independent and effective; the transparency of the process; whether candidates have been free to campaign; what role the media has played; whether voters have been free to express their will; and whether the results process is transparent.

In conducting our duties and undertaking our assessment, we will be neutral, impartial, objective and independent. We are here in our individual capacities as eminent and experienced Commonwealth citizens. The assessment by the Mission will be its own and not that of any member government. Our intent is to offer constructive support to help strengthen the democratic process in the future.

We have already met with political parties, the Commissioner of Elections, domestic observers and international partners in Colombo. Over the coming days we will be meeting with relevant stakeholders in the Northern Province, including party representatives, civil society and the media. We will then deploy across the Province to observe the conclusion of the campaigning and thereafter the voting, counting and results process. We will issue an Interim Statement after the election and a final report thereafter.

I call on all stakeholders to play their part to ensure that the remaining days of the electoral process promote confidence in voters to freely exercise their franchise, thereby marking a forward step in the post-conflict development of the Northern Province.

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  Comments - 2

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  • C.K.Lankaputhra Thursday, 19 September 2013 06:43 AM

    Gentlemen, if you think that the party leaders will ever advice the candidates and their supporters, specially of the ruling party to abide by the rules and regulations of the election. Never. They will advice the candidates only to win the election, no matter how many will be killed. It is simple as that.

    CHANDRAPALA Thursday, 19 September 2013 07:15 AM

    Monitors should be monitored. There are hundred of election monitors. Does our people believe their reports? Without an Independent Election Commission under 17th amendment there will be no free and fair election in this country.


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