Commonwealth election monitors say they will look at the entire process leading up to the Northern Provincial Council Elections when compiling their report on Saturday’s polls.
Former Vice President of Kenya and head of the Commonwealth election monitoring delegation in Sri Lanka, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka said that the task of the delegation 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,” Musyoka said in a statement.
He said that in conducting their duties and undertaking their assessment, the monitors will be neutral, impartial, objective and independent. He also said that they are in Jaffna in their individual capacities as eminent and experienced Commonwealth citizens and the assessment by the Mission will be its own and not that of any member government.
“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,” he added.
Musyoka called 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.