EC invites foreign observers for Parliamentary election

By Easwaran Rutnam

The National Elections Commission (EC) has invited foreign observers for the upcoming Parliamentary election.

Commission member S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole told the Daily Mirror that observers from the European Union, Commonwealth and the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) have been invited by the Elections Commission. Separately, local election monitors will also observe the election and are also likely to invite their own foreign observers for the polls set for April 25.

The international observers will be deployed around the country to observe the polls and submit their observations and recommendations at the end of the election. The EU, Commonwealth and ANFREL were in Sri Lanka to observe the November 16 Presidential election as well.

Among the key areas the foreign observers would monitor would be election campaigning using social media.

After the last Presidential election, the EU observers had called on Sri Lanka to foster formal cooperation between the election administration and the main social media platforms.

“The EC and Facebook should aim at developing more efficient mechanisms to enhance the transparency of campaigning on the platform and the respect for existing campaign rules, including, but not limited to, the electoral silence period. Social platforms, and in this case Facebook in particular, should grant equal treatment in terms of the assistance offered to election management bodies in all countries where they are avenues for political advertising and messaging,” the EU observers had said in their final report on the Presidential polls.