The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) suspects the government is engaged in a delaying tactic by not inviting international election monitors for the provincial council elections in September.
CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon said that deploying foreign observers at the last moment, where they do not understand the context in which the elections are held, often leads to confusion and embarrassment.
For example he recalled that Asian election monitors who were deployed at the last minuet for the 2008 Eastern Provincial Council elections arrived at the conclusion of the polls and completely contradicted the observations made by local election monitors, media and political parties.
CaFFE is concerned that the government is attempting to repeat history by delaying sending invitations to foreign monitors.
Tennakoon said there is still a possibility of the Commonwealth Secretariat sending a team of monitors/experts. However the elections commissioner or the Government needs to send a formal invitation in the coming week if the Commonwealth Secretariat is to prepare monitors and make the necessary logistical arrangements.
“If they are not invited immediately they will not be here for an adequate time necessary to understand the ground realities. In addition the most reputed and experienced election monitor of all, the UN needs an invitation 3 months prior to the election. Therefore that avenue closed sometime back,” he said.
CaFFE believes that the presence of international election monitors will contribute to a free and fair elections. (Colombo Gazette)