The European Union has informed the Elections Commission it will not be sending a fully-fledged observer mission for the 5th August Parliamentary election, Daily Mirror reported.
In a letter sent to Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, seen by Daily Mirror, the EU notes that a fully fledged Election Observer Mission will not be feasible owing to the health and logistical issues as a result of the coronavirus.
Instead, the EU has proposed deploying an Election Expert Mission (EEM) consisting of two or three experts to assess the electoral process.
The EEM will not have public visibility and will not qualify as electoral observers, the EU said in the latter.
In the past the EU has sent fully fledged missions to observe elections in Sri Lanka, with as much as over 60 observers sent for the Presidential elections last November.
The EEM will assess if the election is held in line with international, regional and national obligations.
The EEM will also submit a report after the Parliamentary election.
In the letter, the EU says it will take a final decision on deploying an EEM in due course.
The EU also says if the EEM is deployed it will undergo COVID-19 tests as made mandatory by the Sri Lankan Government and also follow all other procedures.
As international travel is not yet permitted to Sri Lanka, the EU has requested the authorities in Sri Lanka to make arrangements for an EEM to arrive in the country.
Meanwhile, Daily Mirror learns that the Commonwealth has not confirmed sending a team to observe the election while Asian monitors have confirmed they will deploy a team. (Colombo Gazette)