Ministry of Health & Indigenous Medical Services – The Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID 19) (Elections) Regulations, No. 1 of 2020.
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An extraordinary gazette notification containing the Code of Conduct for contesting political parties, independent groups and candidates of the elections has been published.
The Election Commission said the relevant Code of Conduct is issued in terms of Section 8(8) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, No. 1 of 1981 as amended by the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 58 of 2009.
ANFREL and six domestic election observation groups, including ANFREL members PAFFREL and CMEV, release today the “COVID-19 Code of Conduct for Election Observers” ahead of the 2020 Sri Lankan parliamentary elections.
This document is a joint initiative from organizations both domestic and international intending to observe the parliamentary elections of Sri Lanka. The polls were initially scheduled for 25 April 2020 but have been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting the country. While the date at which the elections could be held remains uncertain, pending a ruling from the Supreme Court on the matter, election monitoring organizations have decided to plan ahead and draft guidelines so that election observation may take place in the most responsible manner.
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This document first provides an overview of some of the interventions made by CMEV in this period. It also details media coverage of CMEV’s activities and interventions. Finally, the document provides a snapshot of activity on CMEV’s official website and Facebook pages, as indicators of CMEV’s online operations during this period.
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The Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election was scheduled to be held on 25 April 2020 but was postponed due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a timeline of the events that transpired in the last few months regarding the election and COVID-19 crisis situation in the country:
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This short guide has been prepared by CMEV to offer election stakeholders and voters a brief overview of some key considerations for holding an election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It provides an outline of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected elections worldwide; special health and safety measures taken for elections already held worldwide; and important factors to note in the SriLankan electoral context. It is hoped that these considerations are taken into account by all election stakeholders when decisions are made regarding the Parliamentary General Election in Sri Lanka.
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All active election observation missions in Sri Lanka, including CMEV, have issued a joint statement urging all relevant authorities to resolve their issues regarding a new election date with the mutual understanding of not creating a constitutional crisis against the backdrop of COVID19
The joint statement points out that:
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CMEV wrote to Presidential Task Force on COVID19 head Basil Rajapaksa on appointing members for local relief distribution Committees under Circular PTF 03/2020. This process excludes the 40% of reps elected in 2018 Local Govt Elections through lists without fixed electorateshese reps are disproportionately women due to the function of the new mixed election system & the women’s quota. CMEV requested at least the runners up in electorate contests and especially list-level women reps to be included in the Committees.
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March 06, 2020
Mr. Nishantha A. Weerasinghe,
National Police Commission,
Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall Premises,
Transfers of commissioned and other Police officers during the election period
The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) would like to express its appreciation of Sri Lanka Police as one of the key stakeholders of the election process in this country during the previous Presidential Election in 2019. We strongly believe that in the context of the upcoming General Election, Sri Lanka Police will perform its duties in a similarly commendable manner to ensure a free and fair election.
To this end, one of the most decisive factors is creating a conducive background for all police officers working in various locations across the country to be able to perform their duties and responsibilities in an independent manner without any undue influence.
Several reports we have received so far indicate that this policy is not being completely followed. This includes the apparent plans to transfer Mr. Uchith Liyanage, Senior Superintendent of Police of Seethawaka area and place as the Deputy Director of the Women and Child Bureau. Our reports indicate that he is to be replaced by Mr. Sudath Wedamulla, Senior Superintendent of Police who was recently appointed as a Personal Assistant of a Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police after being transferred from Anuradhapura.
In the face of a national level election, CMEV emphasises that any alleged attempts of transferring will be a direct violation of the explicit guidelines provided by the Election Commission. As per usual electoral processes in Sri Lanka, the Police must also consult the Election Commission before any such transfer. In the past when neither the National Police Commission nor the Election Commission had been established, the Department of Elections and the Department of Police jointly managed these kinds of situations in a very coordinated and supportive manner. The work accomplished through such coordination had generated better results too. We also trust that the Inspector General of Police (Acting) has enormous experience of similar essential transfers done in a well-coordinated manner.
Thus, we strongly expect the National Police Commission to pay your kind attention to rectify any such transfers that have either already taken place or will take place. It is the absolute responsibility of the National Police Commission to ensure the independent functioning of the Police service during elections. CMEV also notes that numerous baseless and unanticipated allegations against independent Commissions are being made in the current climate. It is the sole responsibility of the Commissions to build and strengthen their reputations. The National Police Commission can do that here by taking strong, principled decisions and promoting independent practices within Sri Lanka Police in a careful, professional and just manner.
Finally, CMEV will extend our fullest support for any decisions your Commission will take in order to protect and enhance the integrity of electoral processes of this country.
Your attention for above mentioned matters will be highly appreciated.
March 06, 2020
Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya,
Election Secretariat Office,
Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.
Dear Mr. Deshapriya,
Public Officials Engaging in Illegal Election Campaigning
The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) would like to express its appreciation of the Election Commission for some positive decisions that have been already taken based on certain incidents in relation to the upcoming General Election.
We believe that, similar to the last Presidential Election, there will be a rise in public officials engaging in election campaigning and making undue interventions which contravene their functions.
CMEV wishes to highlight one such incident regarding the Director of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital, Doctor A.M.S. Weerabandara, who has been engaging in election campaigning in a very biased and ethnically divisive manner while still remaining a public official.
The extensive efforts being taken by the Election Commission to ensure the integrity of the election process is challenged and put at a high risk by activity such as the above being done without receiving appropriate leave or by terminating the current employment for the purpose of promoting various political parties.
Section 01 of Chapter 32 of the Establishment Code of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, provides limitations through sub-sections 1.1, 1.2.3 and 1.3 on staff officers not being entitled to enjoy political rights, specifically on the establishment of election candidacy or executing initial actions for the purpose of election candidacy. These provisions have been violated by the Director’s actions.
We urge the Election Commission to take immediate action to initiate an investigation on the conduct of the said Director who should be aware of the limitations imposed on a staff officer yet has intentionally both violated the election law and disregarded the medical profession’s rules and regulations related to the public service for the purpose of political gains.
We urge the Election Commission to use for an investigation:
Your attention and action on this matter will be highly appreciated.
CMEV will be monitoring election law violations, campaign expenses & social media activity, and conducting voter education during the upcoming #GenElecSL as well.
මැ.ප්ර.නි.ම මෙවරද මැතිවරණ නීති උල්ලංඝනය, මැතිවරණ ප්රචාරක වියදම්, ඡන්ද දායකයින් දැනුවත් කිරීම හා සමාජ මාධ්ය හැසිරීම පිලිබඳ පුළුල් නිරීක්ෂණයක් සිදු කරනු ලබයි.
இம்முறையும் CMEV தேர்தல் சட்ட மீறல்கள், தேர்தல் பிரசார செலவுகள் , வாக்காளர்களை விழிப்பூட்டல் மற்றும் சமூக ஊடக செயற்பாடுகள் குறித்து பரந்த கண்காணிப்பை மேற்கொள்கின்றது.
The Extraordinary Gazette notification by the President dissolving Parliament was published on midnight March 02, 2020. The General Election will be held on April 25, 2020, while nominations would be accepted between March 12 and 19. The new Parliament is to meet on May 14, 2020.
Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) has launched its final report titled ”The 2019 Sri Lankan Presidential Election: A Deepening Political Divide” and a copy of the report was handed over to Mr. Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator of CMEV by Mr. Amaël Vier, Program Officer for Capacity Building and International Election Observation.
Access to the report : https://anfrel.org/final-mission-report-2019-sri-lankan-presidential-election/
We are pleased to present you the final report prepared by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) on estimated election campaign costs of Presidential Candidates.
CMEV has stated from the outset that one of the urgent electoral reforms in the country should be to set up a legal mechanism to regulate election-related expenditure in the country. To this end, one of the decisive factors that must necessarily be there is the relevant evidence-based data.
Accordingly, for the first time in the electoral history of the country, CMEV has released a detailed report on the estimated election campaign cost incurred by candidates, political parties and independent groups contested the Presidential Election 2019.
Download the Report in English here