In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 08, 2022, CMEV conducted a round table discussion on the impact of Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) for the empowerment of women’s representation in Sri Lanka. The program was held at CPA/CMEV Office with the participation of more than 20 representatives from political parties, media and Civil Society Organisations. The discussion was integrated with commemorating women leaders such as Agnes Merion De Silva, Adeline Molamure and Vivien Gunawardana who were champions in advocating for women’s universal franchise in Sri Lanka. D.M. Dissanayake, Head of Operation CMEV in his presentation on the effectiveness of women quota for ensuring women participation in politics highlighted that there are many issues in the electoral system which need to be addressed for ensuring effective women participation. Ms. Kumarini Prathapasinghe, Assistant Election Commissioner explained about current policies and practices followed by the Election Commission to strengthen women’s political participation. The requirements of a gender-sensitive EDR system was discussed by Ms. Udeni Thewarapperuma representing the Gender and Election Working Group. Dr.P. Saravanamuttu, Executive Director of CPA and a Co-convenor of CMEV highlighted the significance of women’s role in politics and common activism for ensuring the space for women in the legislature.
The activity was co-sponsored by the International Foundation for the Electoral system.
CMEV in collaboration with Election Commission of Sri Lanka launched a series of training workshops on Election Dispute Resolution for officials of District Election Offices and police offices since December 2021. The inaugural training program was conducted at the auditorium of the Jaffna District Secretariat on December 04, 2021. Mr. Nimal G. Punchihewa, Attorney-at-Law and the Chairman of the Election Commission, who led the training program stated that the clear understanding of election officers and other stakeholders about the EDR mechanism is the key for a successful election. The Chairman, in his presentation, provided a comprehensive enlightenment of the legal framework of the EDR system of Sri Lanka. He did not forget to appreciate the effective contribution of CMEV as an election observer organization to empower EDR process in various means including strategic litigation in the Supreme Court. In addition to the legal framework and procedural practices of the EDR process, the role of the police officers in EDR process and challenges of implementing some of election laws were covered by the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (Service) Priyantha Weerasooriya. The panel discussion which was the last session of the program attended by members of the Election Commission, Election Commissioner General together with senior police officers were dedicated to answer practical issues raised by participants of the workshop. Various gaps in the present EDR system were raised for discussion in the panel discussion.
Following the Jaffna program, CMEV together with Election Commission organized another 9 programs for Election officials and other stakeholders in Hambantota, Matara, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Monaragala, Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Matale and Kandy Districts. All workshops followed the same module with resource persons. The program series is being conducted with funding support from the Norwegian Government under increased capacity and awareness on electoral and constitutional reform project.
In any election held in this country, the number of voters who do not come to the polling centers due to the absence of facilities to cast their vote for various reasons is very large. Nearly four million people (3,920,576) did not cast their votes in the last Parliamentary Election held in 2020. Accordingly, it is crystal clear that the introduction of alternative / advance voting methods for voting is one of the few immediate electoral reforms that should not be unaddressed.
Women’s political activism became more active in the country around 1919 with the island-wide movement for women’s suffrage. Even though it has been more or less the opportunity to contest elections since then, getting nominations for women activists is still not an easy task. The forthcoming Provincial Council election will certainly be a challenging occasion. If given a chance, there are a large number of women political activists who aspire to contest elections.
This issue was also discussed extensively during a series of training programs for women political activists organized by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in collaboration with IRI and this short video contains the views expressed by R.Iresha Udeni Hettihewa of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) who participated in this Uva Provincial Workshop.
Various activists and civil society organizations in the country have, for a long time, been calling for specific recognition for women’s political activism. The 25% quota for women, established for local government bodies, was a significant milestone. Although it confirmed only 23.5% female representation at the end of the election, it was a hallmark of Sri Lanka’s future women’s political representation. The most interesting trend in that process was the emergence of a strong women’s force of 1926 compared to only 88 female members in local government bodies before the quota system.
One way to further reinforce the future political activism of women is to give them an appropriate and sufficient understanding of the procedures of the institutional system and the laws on local governance. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) will continue to support them in this regard. This short video has been prepared with the views of female local government representatives who participated in a series of programs conducted in collaboration with the International Republican Institute (IRI).
The number of people who lose the opportunity to cast their vote in every election held in this country is unlimited. That number was close to 3 million at the last election. Although there may be a certain percentage of people in the country who abstain from voting to protest without voting, most live in a background where the facilities to cast their votes are marginal. To provide an Advance Voting facility to the voters of this country, there should be a continuous dialogue among the electoral stakeholders and there should be a special focus and interest on it among the newly elected members of Parliament as well. The second Virtual Discussion organized by CMEV in association with DRI will be held from 6.00 PM to 7.30 PM on the 20th of December 2020.
Sri Lanka has a distinguished history of election management. The number of national and local level elections held so far since the country gained universal suffrage is about 74. Until 2015, the Department of Elections was the authority to hold elections in this country. The Election Commission was then established. The said Election Commission is due to end its term on November 13, 2020. Therefore, here is an Infographic compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) showing the tenure of the officials responsible for the conduct of the elections from the time of the commencement of the formal elections in the country to the present day.
As a part of CMEV’s voter education efforts, this publication provides a brief introduction to a number of judgments at Sri Lankan courts concerning election violations. CMEV hopes that these case summaries will help voters and activists understand the legal background of Parliamentary elections. (In Sinhala).
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.
The Centre For Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), initiated in 1997, has contributed to the electoral reforms through a thorough election observation process.
The institution created a database of election results and information about violence perpetrated in a variety of elections (such as presidential, general and provincial). Once the Election Commission announced the commencement of elections, CMEV re-initiated its election observation mission on the 18th of September. The organisation has mobilised their operations for the upcoming Presidential Election slated for the 16th of November 2019.
CMEV held its residential training session for district/field monitors on 11th of October at the Janaki Hotel, Colombo 5. Almost 100 participants from all 25 administrative districts gained exposure to: Election Law, election observation process, contemporary political climate and the misuse of state resources.
June 01st is considered ‘Voter’s Day’ in Sri Lanka. There were several awareness programs and gatherings to celebrate this special day during the first week of this month. CMEV also celebrated it in partnership with the Election Commission, and was able to print over 30,000 stickers in trilingual to promote voter registration.
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.