The European Union (EU) today called for new election laws in Sri Lanka which will include the right of domestic and international observers to observe all stages of the electoral process
During the presentation of the final report on the 17 August Parliamentary Elections, among other recommendations, Chief Observer Cristian Preda highlighted that “the electoral law could be reviewed to allow direct campaigning; to develop parties finance rules to ensure a level field between candidates; and to require that the parties nominate candidates for the national list seats before elections, so that voters can anticipate the result of their votes”.
Preda also underlined the need “to introduce temporary special measures to increase the representation of women in politics and in key positions in the public sector”.
The elections were well-administered and offered voters a genuine choice from among a broad range of political alternatives; and, according to most interlocutors, these were the most peaceful and efficiently conducted elections in the country’s recent history.
In view of a forthcoming electoral reform, the report contains a detailed analysis of the electoral process in the light of international standards for democratic elections and the Sri Lankan law. It also includes a total of 26 recommendations for future elections in the areas of the legal framework, electoral administration, voter registration, campaign environment, complaints and appeals, gender equality, media, voter education and election observation.
The document stresses the importance of the establishment of formalised procedures for the decisions issued by the Commissioner of Elections, as well as the introduction of a suitable communication system of these instructions to political stakeholders, civil society and voters for transparency sake and the integrity of the process.
It also recommends the creation of an independent broadcasting regulator which could formulate a comprehensive legislation to provide for, inter alia, a clear and transparent process regarding the allocation of broadcast licences and oblige broadcasters to be balanced and impartial.
The European Union Election Observation Mission remained in Sri Lanka from 15 July until 4 September, following an invitation from the Commissioner of Elections. The findings are based on the information submitted by 85 EU observers deployed across the country.
The EU EOM operated in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, and it is independent in its findings and conclusions. (Colombo Gazette)
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