CMEV Calls for Postponement of General Election 2020

CMEV Calls for Postponement of General Election 2020

March 17, 2020 – The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) is urging the Election Commission to postpone General Election 2020 scheduled for April 25, 2020, in light of the escalating CORVID-19 pandemic.

Many activities required for holding the election bring many people into close contact with each other, thereby posing significant risks of viral transmission. This includes thousands of election officers, party officials, Police officers and election observers being in close proximity to each other at the thousands of polling stations and counting centres across the country; physical contact between election officers and voters as voters are marked with indelible ink and handed ballot papers; and the handling of the same ballot paper by numerous election officials for vote counting purposes. All election campaigning activities, including public rallies and meetings, also bring many people into close contact with each other.

CMEV notes that the ongoing spread of the CORVID-19 pandemic and government measures to combat it (including closures of schools and other public venues, restrictions on mass gatherings and travel restrictions) are likely to have a significant impact on voter turnout on Election Day, and that many voters would be discouraged from voting due to fears of being in close proximity to many others at polling stations. This also broadly impacts voters’ right to freely exercise their vote, and the ability to hold a free and fair election.

CMEV also notes that elections scheduled to be held during the months of March to May have been postponed in many countries including the United Kingdom, France, India and Spain due to the escalating CORVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of postponement, the Election Commission can formally request the President to withdraw Extraordinary Gazette 2165/8, which would have the effect of reversing the dissolution of Parliament and the calling of an election. The Election Commission can alternately, under the gazette with the notice of poll it will issue after the close of nominations, postpone the election unilaterally under the powers it will acquire thereafter.

CMEV is prepared to offer any assistance it can and work with the Election Commission to ensure that General Election 2020 can be held under conditions where Sri Lankans are able to exercise their right to vote in a truly free and fair manner.

The need for an independent and prompt investigation into allegations against Gotabaya Rajapaksa being registered to vote and allegedly voting at the 2005 Presidential Election while not a citizen of Sri Lanka

August 20th2019, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) attention has been drawn to the complaint made regarding former Defense Secretary Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa. According to the complaint made by a deputy editor of a Sinhala daily news paper to the Elections Commission of Sri Lanka, Mr. Rajapaksa’s name had been included in the annual electoral list used for the 2005 Presidential Election and he had allegedly cast his vote in the said election, at a time when he was not a Sri Lankan citizen. This allegation becomes even more problematic as he is to contest the forthcoming  Presidential election as the candidate representing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

In terms of Article 89(a) of the Sri Lankan Constitution, a person who is not a Sri Lankan citizen is not entitled to vote at a Presidential Election, General Election or at a referendum. Voting in sucha situation is an offense and is punishable in terms of the Presidential Elections Act No. 15 of 1981.

According to media reports, Mr. Rajapaksa obtained his US citizenship in 2003. He  arrived in Sri Lanka on the 04th of September 2005 on a tourist visa and had campaigned / assisted the election campaign of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005. This, it is alleged is an offense in terms of section 45(1) (a) of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act no 20 of 1948.

These allegations if proven, would constitute a serious violation of the Constitution and the laws of Sri Lanka and are indicative of acts that compromise the very basis of the electoral process. Thus it is incumbent on Mr. Rajapaksa who aspires to be the eighth executive President of Sri Lanka, to refute these allegations and co-operate fully with all investigations. Anything less would bring into question Mr. Rajapaksa’s commitment to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, its Constitution and the rule of law. Furthermore, Mr. Rajapaksa’s silence in the face of these allegations and the allegation that he has failed to renounce his dual citizenship, is extremely problematic. As a potential candidate for the highest elected office in Sri Lanka, it is incumbent upon him to demonstrate a greater commitment to the electoral process.

The enumeration process is a constitutionally mandated responsibility for the Elections Commission. The Commission is expected to maintain accuracy in the process, at all times. Ensuring that only eligible electors and verified information is contained in the electoral list is essential to ensure free and fair elections. Allegations, such as those mentioned above, cast serious doubt on the reliability of the enumeration process and compromise the integrity of the electoral process.

Accordingly, it is incumbent upon the Election Commission to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into these allegations. CMEV is of the view that the swift and impartial interventions by the Elections Commission and other relevant authorities into allegations of malpractice in the electoral process is essential for maintaining the good faith and confidence of the voters in the electoral process.

 

Download this release in English, Tamil and  Sinhala.

 

Interactive Discussion on Roles & Responsibilities of Local Government Members in Mullativu District

As one step of the strategic plan introduced by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) organized one day interactive discussion inviting selected key members of all 4 local government authorities in Mullativu district on 24th January 2019 at District Secretariat of Mullativu.

The roles & responsibilities of members, strategies to increase income revenue options including preparation of new by-laws, and how to contribute for a peaceful and inclusive election process, as people’s representatives were the topics discussed at this event. Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator of CMEV was the resource person of this event while Ms. Rajamalligai, Assistant Commissioner of Local Government and Mr. K.Kaantheepan, Assistant Election Commissioner; Mullativu shared their insights related to above topics. Over 50 local government members including chairmen of all 4 councils actively participated in this event.

Empowering Women Activists through Voter Education – Hambantota District Programme

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) initiated a voter education programme called ‘Provincial Council Elections Voter Education and Outreach Programme’ with the support of USAID-DAI (SDGAP). The main focus is to invoke awareness for women candidates who are willing to contest in the next provincial councils elections to be held island-wide. CMEV is planning to conduct a series of district-level awareness workshops inviting selected prospective candidates across the country.

The sixteenth in this series of workshops was conducted in Hambanthota District at main auditorium of Hambanthota District Secretariat on 31st October 2018. Over 70 women activists including women elected members of Local government were attended in this one-day awareness training. Mr. M. Bandula Harischandra, District Secretariat and the District Returning Officer was delivered the key note speech in this event. Mr. R.S. Wedage, Assistant Election Commissioner of Hambanthota District, Mr. Dharmasiri Nanayakkara, Former Deputy Commissioner of Local Government, Mr. Anura Handagama, Attorney At Law, Hashanie Chitranganie, L.L.B and Mr. Chandrasekaran Manimaran delivered speeches in this event.

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

It is the eighth decade that’s being elapsed since Sri Lanka was bestowed with universal franchise. Apart from few instances, which took place in certain elections, Sri Lanka could boast of a proud history in terms of elections with a unique identity. If any electoral reform regardless of its model or approach, should take place following the tradition that reflects the Sri Lankan identity in elections. Not a single country in the world has formulated a perfect election system.

Accordingly, a certain level of regulation should be exercised on campaign finances with a proper understanding about the prevailing political background in the country. Hence a regulating mechanism should be formulated through a series of consultative discussions with the involvement of Election Commission, political parties, Election Observing Organizations and other stakeholders. The following points should be taken into account in such an undertaking that is carried out with the legal sphere.

Introducing fundamental requisites on assets and liabilities of political parties and candidates should become the basis to any regulatory mechanism.

Regardless of the nature of regulatory mechanism thus introduced, it should not distance the politician from the elector. It is essential to make sure that such a mechanism does not curtail the freedom of expression.

The politicians should be convinced that the money is received as a privilege for engaging in responsible politics. Accordingly it is important to discuss about the ways of refining the mechanism to be agreeable for both the politicians and the voters while considering the need for inculcating the useful best practices and elements of other systems adopted and recognized internationally.

English

Can the ministerial secretaries wash their hands off building the nation

Role of Political Parties in Campaign Finance

There is no developed democracy in a society with poor civil activism

Can we expect free and fair elections without Campaign Finance Laws?

Challenges of Women in Politics

Sinhala

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මැතිවරණ ව්‍යාපාර මුල්‍යකරණය පිලිබඳ මෙතෙක් කිසිදු නීතිමය යාන්ත්‍රණයක් සකස්ව නැත. පිරිසිදු දේශපාලන සංස්කෘතියක් වෙනුවෙන් එවැනි නීතියක් හඳුන්වා දීම සඳහා එක්වෙමු. ඒ පිලිබඳ පසුබිම විමසා පළකරන විශේෂාංග ලිපි මාලාවක් මෙහි දැක්වේ.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මැතිවරණ ව්‍යාපාර මුල්‍යකරණය නියාමනය කිරීම

දේශපාලන මුල්‍යකරණය යනු කුමක්ද?

මැතිවරණ අයවැය පාලනය කල හැක්කේ කාටද ?

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ පැවැත්වෙන මැතිවරණ නිදහස්ද? සාධාරණද?

කාන්තා දේශපාලනයේ අභියෝගය

තොරතුරු පනත හා වත්කම් බැරකම් ප්‍රකාශන නීතිය

මැතිවරණ මුල්‍යකරණය හා දේශපාලන පක්ෂ

මෙරටේ පවත්නා බලගතුම නීතිය වන්නේ වත්කම් හා බැරකම් ප්‍රකාශන නීතියයි

යහපත් පුරවැසි ක්‍රියාකාරීත්වයක් නොමැති සමාජයක දියුණු ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදයක් දැකිය නොහැකිය

Tamil

Challenges of Women in Politics

Political parties in Sri Lanka must use campaign finances in a positive manner

Are elections in Sri Lanka free and fair?

Facilitating Voting Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and prioritizing Inclusive Elections

CMEV is one of leading election observation missions in the country which HAS facilitated an Inclusive Election process, prioritizing voting rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). The last three elections that were held since 2015 have seen PwDs being deployed  as election observers by CMEV in addition to its efforts of producing of accessible documents for PwDs.

As a part of continuous engagements towards promoting inclusive elections, CMEV initiated a programme to create a pool of election observers comprising with PwDs. Its first programme was held at the meeting hall of FRDSRO disability organization, Kandy on 27th September 2018 with the participation of over 60 PwDs. Mr. Namal Thalangama, Deputy Commissioner of Elections, Kandy District attended representing Election Commission of Sri Lanka and delivered the key note speech in this event. Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator of CMEV was the facilitator of the event while Mr. Anura Hadagama (Attorney-at-Law) and Hashanie Chiranganie (L.L.B) were the resource persons for programme.

Empowering women activists through voter education – Trincomalee District Programme

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) initiated a voter education programme called ‘Provincial Council Elections Voter Education and Outreach Programme’ with the support of USAID-DAI (SDGAP). The main focus is to invoke awareness for women candidates who are willing to contest in the next provincial councils elections to be held island-wide. CMEV is planning to conduct a series of district-level awareness workshops inviting selected prospective candidates across the country.

The eighth in this series of workshops was conducted in  Trincomalee District  at Lake Front Hotels reception hall in Kanthale   on 30th September 2018. Over 65 women activists including women members of Local government, active supporters of political parties and women CSO leaders attended in this one day awareness training. Mr. M.M. Mohamed, Additional Commissioner of Elections (Admin and Legal), Election Commission of Sri Lanka. was delivered the key note speech in this event.  CMEV organised this event in partnership with Election Commission of Sri Lanka, National Collaboration Development Foundation (NCDF) and Eastern Women Organisation.

Empowering women activists through voter education – Polonnaruwa District Programme

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) initiated a voter education programme called ‘Provincial Council Elections Voter Education and Outreach Programme’ with the support of USAID-DAI (SDGAP). The main focus is to invoke awareness for women candidates who are willing to contest in the next provincial councils elections to be held island-wide. CMEV is planning to conduct a series of district-level awareness workshops inviting selected prospective candidates across the country.

The sixth   in this series of workshops was conducted in  Polonnaruwa  District at New Ramaada Hotels Reception Hall  on 13th September 2018. Over 50 women activists including women members of Local government, active supporters of political parties and women CSO leaders attended in this one day awareness training. Mr. Leelanath Wickramaarchchi, Assistant Commissioner of Elections, Polonnaruwa District was attended representing Election Commission of Sri Lanka. CMEV organised this event in partnership with ”Sunila Women & Children Development Foundation, Polonnaruwa.

Empowering women activists through voter education – Kandy District Programme

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) initiated a voter education programme called ‘Provincial Council Elections Voter Education and Outreach Programme’ with the support of USAID-DAI (SDGAP). The main focus is to invoke awareness for women candidates who are willing to contest in the next provincial councils elections to be held island-wide. CMEV is planning to conduct a series of district-level awareness workshops inviting selected prospective candidates across the country.

The Seventh    in this series of workshops was conducted at Peradeniya University in Kandy. Over 70  women activists including women members of Local government, active supporters of political parties, women CSO leaders and selected students attended in this one day awareness training. Mr. Namal Thalangama, Deputy Commissioner of Elections, Kandy District was delivered the key note speech in this event.  CMEV organised this event in partnership with the faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya.

Empowering women activists through voter education – Rathnapura District Programme

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) initiated a voter education programme called ‘Provincial Council Elections Voter Education and Outreach Programme’ with the support of USAID-DAI (SDGAP). The main focus is to invoke awareness for women candidates who are willing to contest in the next provincial councils elections to be held island-wide. CMEV is planning to conduct a series of district-level awareness workshops inviting selected prospective candidates across the country.

The Fifth   in this series of workshops was conducted in  Rathnapura  District at Samudiya Hotels Reception Hall  on 14th September 2018. Over 50 women activists including women members of Local government, active supporters of political parties and women CSO leaders attended in this one day awareness training. CMEV organised this event in partnership with Rathnapura District ”Savibala Purawesi Sanvidhanaya”.

 

Empowering women activists through voter education – Batticaloa District Programme

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) initiated a voter education programme called ‘Provincial Council Elections Voter Education and Outreach Programme’ with the support of USAID-DAI (SDGAP). The main focus is to invoke awareness for women candidates who are willing to contest in the next provincial councils elections to be held island-wide. CMEV is planning to conduct a series of district-level awareness workshops inviting selected prospective candidates across the country.

The Fourth in this series of workshops was conducted in Batticaloa District at Green Garden Hotel  on 08th September 2018. Over 55 women activists including women members of Local government, active supporters of political parties and women CSO leaders attended in this one day awareness training. R. Sasilan, Assistant Commissioner of Elections in Batticaloa district was attended as the guest speaker of this event. CMEV organised this event in partnership with Batticaloa District Women Federation.

 

Empowering women activists through voter education – Puttalam District Programme

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) initiated a voter education programme called ‘Provincial Council Elections Voter Education and Outreach Programme’ with the support of USAID-DAI (SDGAP). The main focus is to invoke awareness for women candidates who are willing to contest in the next provincial councils elections to be held island-wide. CMEV is planning to conduct a series of district-level awareness workshops inviting selected prospective candidates across the country.

The third  in this series of workshops was conducted at Puttalam District Secretariat’s Main Auditorium on 06th September 2018. Over 60 women activists including women members of Local government, active supporters of political parties and women CSO leaders attended in this one day awareness training. CMEV organised this event in partnership with Child Vision Sri Lanka, Puttalam.