There is currently no legal framework in Sri Lanka that obligates political parties and candidates to disclose the costs they incurred for election campaigning. The absence of campaign finance regulation has resulted in enormous disparities in elections held in Sri Lanka rendering a level playing field for all candidates non-existent. Campaign finance regulation has been a longstanding demand of election stakeholders and civil society organisations.
A number of elections-focused organisations including CMEV formulated a draft campaign finance bill over the 2015-18 period. Subsequently, the Election Commission also formulated its own campaign finance bill which include provisions related to campaign finances.
In 2019, CMEV set up its Campaign Finance Monitoring Unit with the mandate of observing the estimated election campaign costs at the 2019 Presidential Election campaign. This was the first time in Sri Lankan election observation history that the campaign costs of different political parties, candidates and their supporters were monitored by an election monitoring organisation.
The Campaign Finance Monitoring Unit is also operating for the Parliamentary General Election 2020. In addition to campaign costs monitoring, it is also soliciting information from the voting public on expenses incurred by political parties and candidates.