Consultation Workshop on the Political Rights of Persons with Disabilities- Polonnaruwa District Discussion

CMEV has been engaging in various initiatives of empowering disability organizations to achieve their political rights, with special emphasis on voting rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and to create an inclusive discourse with that regard, ensuring that the popular disability related slogan ‘’’Nothing about us without us’’ is given its true meaning. To this effect, CMEV has been conducting a series of programs aimed at the realization of political / voting rights of PwDs, in parallel with both National level Elections held in 2015 as well.

As a part of the newest chapter of the said initiatives, another  consultative discussion was held on 18th July in partnership with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and FRIDSRO. Key representatives of DPOs in North Central  Province took part in this occasion.

The Additional Commissioner of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Mr. Saman Sri Ratnayake attended this event as the main resource person, representing the Election Commission. Assistant  Election Commissioner (Polonnaruwa district) Mr. J. Jeniton and Researcher of CMEV Hashanie Chitranganie attended as resource persons. National Coordinator of CMEV Manjula Gajanayake was the facilitator of the event and the Programme Officer Mr. R.P. Karunarathne attended representing FRIDSRO Sri Lanka.

The Regulation of Campaign Finances and the Electoral Process in Sri Lanka

There are numerous changes which must inevitably take place in the process of electoral reforms. One such significant sector that must be subject to change is the limitation of campaign finances.

A large number of programmes have been carried out by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence on this regard. The awareness programmes pertinent to this sector are still being conducted consistently.

As a part of these initiatives, an information pamphlet  has been released in all three languages. This pamphlet was published in collaboration with Transparency International Sri Lanka.

Download the pamphlet in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

Limitations on Campaign Finance and Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities: A series of Regional Dialogues – Part 2

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) organised an awareness workshop in Jaffna recently. This discussion series was organised by CMEV in partnership with Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), with the assistance of Civil Society Organisations as well as field and district coordinators of CMEV.

Candidates willing to contest for the upcoming Local Government election, women candidates in particular, activists and key members of civil society organizations attended this event.

Former Deputy Commissioner of Local Government – Mr. N.A. Dharmasiri and National Co-ordinator of CMEV – Manjula Gajanayake, were the speakers at this event.

Seminar on the Regulation of Campaign Finances and the Declaration of Assets & Liabilities in Elections

Formulating laws and introducing a mechanism for regulating campaign finances is a significant sectors in the current electoral system in Sri Lanka. A series of discussions with the view to accomplishing this endeavour was held recently as an initiative of Centre for Monitoring Election Violence and International Idea in order to create awareness in the stakeholders to the electoral process. Further discussions were held in collaboration with Transparency International as well.

The distinct element of this series was that twelve districts were involved in those deliberations. Subsequently, with the involvement of selected number of participants from the said consultative discussion series along with the institutions and entities who are directly accountable for the process of regulating campaign finances – Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption and Inland Revenue Department – another discussion was held in Colombo at the Janaki Hotel.

A large number of participants took part in the discussion which was held on the 27th of June. All the participants unanimously agreed on the need for taking the necessary steps to formulate a legal framework that enables the regulation of campaign finances, prior to the election that is to be held in the year 2020 or any other national level election that is to be held in the future.

Among the dignitaries who addressed the gathering were Nimal G.Punchihewa, Director (Legal), Election Commission of Sri Lanka; Dr. P. Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, CPA and Co- convener of CMEV; Asoka Obeysekara, Executive Director, Transparency International Sri Lanka and Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator, CMEV.

Meanwhile, chamber deliberations were also held in tandem. These were attended by Dr Wickramabahu Karunarathne, Leader , Nawa Sama Samaja party; Sirithunga Jayasuriya, Leader, New Socialist Alliance; Gamini Nawarathne, Former Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (Admin & Election); Nimal G Punchihewa, Director, (Legal) Election Commission of Sri Lanka; Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director of Paffrel; Sankitha Gunarathne, Manager, (RTI) TISL; Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator of CMEV. The discussion was moderated by Sashee De Mel, Senior Programme Manager, Transparency International Sri Lanka.

 

Limitations on campaign finance and disclosure of assets and liabilities: A series of regional dialogues – Part 2

In addition to the contributions made by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in critical engagement with the election observation processes in Sri Lanka, it has simultaneously been contributing to the electoral reform process in the country. As part of these overall functions, CMEV has initiated a series of discussions with the intention of enhancing an island wide public discourse on “Limitations on Campaign Finance and the disclosure of assets and liabilities”.

Therefore, contributing to the said initiative, Centre for Monitoring Violence (CMEV) organized 2 regional workshops in both Ampara & Mannar district recently. This discussion series was organized by CMEV in partnership with Transparency International Sri Lanka with the assistance of local organizations as well as CMEV field and District Coordinators, Candidates willing to contest upcoming local government election – women candidates in particular, Activists and key members of civil society organizations attended in the said series of discussions.

Deputy Commissioner of Local Government (retired) Mr. N. A. Dharmasiri and National Coordinator of CMEV  Manjula Gajanayake ​were the speakers at these 2 discussions. ​

Limitations on campaign finance and disclosure of assets and liabilities: A series of regional dialogues – Part 1

In addition to the contributions made by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in critical engagement with the election observation processes in Sri Lanka, it has simultaneously been contributing to the electoral reform process in the country. As part of these overall functions, CMEV has initiated a series of discussions with the intention of enhancing an island wide public discourse on “Limitations on Campaign Finance and the disclosure of assets and liabilities”.

Imposing limitations on campaign finance and the disclosure of assets are not merely isolated elements of the overall electoral process. They are obviously factors that play a pivotal and decisive role of any election. Additionally, these factors assist safeguarding the overall integrity of the electoral process while creating an equal playing field for all election candidates. While most of the countries across the globe have been effectively working in and around identifying and adopting appropriate approaches connected to restricting campaign finance; it is a welcoming situation in Sri Lanka having initiated a public discourse on the same matter during the recent past.

Therefore, contributing to the said initiative, Centre for Monitoring Violence (CMEV) organized nine regional level public discussions on the ‘Campaign expenditure and on declarations of assets and liabilities’ at different nine locations across the country since 29th April – 01st June 2017.

This discussion series was organized by CMEV in partnership with Transparency International Sri Lanka with the assistance of local organizations as well as CMEV field and District Coordinators. Candidates willing to contest upcoming local government election – women candidates in particular, Activists and key members of civil society organizations attended in the said series of discussions.

Deputy Commissioner of Local Government (retired) Mr. N. A. Dharmasiri, National Coordinator of CMEV Manjula Gajanayake, and Researcher of CMEV Hashanie Chitranganie were the speakers at these discussions while the Senior Programme Manager of TISL Sashee de Mel attended representing TISL.

Details of discussions and key stakeholders involved

Date Location Individual/Local Partners engaged
29th April 2017 Royal Nest Hotel, Bendiwewa, Polonnaruwa Mothers & Daughters of Lanka (MDL)
13th May 2017 WODEPT Community Centre, Puttalam Child Vision Sri Lanka-Disability Rights –

Puttalam

14th May 2017 Lake Front Rest, Kanthale, Trincomalee National Collaboration Development Foundation(NCDF)
16th May 2017 Green Garden Hotel, Batticaloa CAMID – Batticaloa
20th May 2017 Ruby Hotel,  Monaragala Community Development Centre,

Monaragala

21st May 2017 Viharamahadevi Human Development Centre,  Hambantota Sri Lankan Young Voice Foundation,

Hambanthota

22nd May 2017 Divisional Secretariat Office, Ratnapura FRIDSRO, Kandy
24th May 2017 Aradhana Hotel, Galle CMEV Field Co-ordinator, Akmeemana
01st June 2017 Oak Ray Hotel, Kandy Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government

Authorities

 Current Situation and Legal Background:

The current legal background regarding the limitation of campaign finances in Sri Lanka as well as the challenges encountered in implementing the law on declaration of assets and liabilities related to elections were focused much in these discussions.  Additionally, there was a special attention to explore the possibility of ensuring accountability and transparency of political culture of the country by using the existing legal provisions on declaration of assets and liabilities in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, apart from those core topics, participants were given an opportunity to propose their suggestions on as to how to make sure of formulation and implementation of regulatory mechanism for the limitation of campaign finances. Thus, viewpoints of participants were taken with regard to the regulation of provision of funds by the political parties during the election period which so far has created an adverse effect on the integrity of the electoral process currently being practiced in Sri Lanka.

Two Day Training Workshop on the Role of Police in Elections

The two day training workshop titled ‘The role of Police Officers in Elections’ was held at Renuka City hotel Colombo 03, on 30th and 31st May 2017.

This workshop was organised by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), in partnership with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and the Election Branch of Sri Lanka Police. The curriculum of this programme was specifically designed for police officers involved in election process and included some important aspects of electoral process such as principles of election security, election observation and opportunities to mitigate electoral violence. Over 40 senior police officers attended this programme.

CMEV is organizing a series of training workshops for police officers who are engaged in election duties in partnership with Election Commission and Election Unit of the Sri Lanka Police.