History of the Institute of Election Management in Sri Lanka

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.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ මැතිවරණ ඉතිහාසය

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට මැතිවරණ කළමනාකරණය පිළිබඳව ඇත්තේ කීර්තිමත් ඉතිහාසයකි. මෙරටට සර්වජන ජන්ද බලය ලැබීමෙන් අනතුරුව මෙතෙක් පවත්වා ඇති ජාතික හා ප්‍රාදේශීය මට්ටමේ මැතිවරණ සංඛ්‍යාව 74 ක් පමණ වේ. වසර 2015 වන තෙක්ම මෙරටේ මැතිවරණ පැවැත්වීමේ බළධාරීත්වය දරන ලද්දේ මැතිවරණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවයි. අනතුරුව මැතිවරණ කොමිෂන් සභාව ස්ථාපිත කරන ලදි. එකී කොමිසම එළඹෙන නොවැම්බර් මස 13 වැනි දින තම කාල සීමාව අවසන් කිරීමට නියමිතය. එබැවින් මෙහි පළවන්නේ මැතිවරණ ප්‍රචණ්ඩ ක්‍රියා නිරීක්ෂණ මධ්‍යස්ථානය (CMEV) මෙරටේ විධිමත් මැතිවරණ පැවැත්වීම ඇරඹුණු සමයේ පටන් අද දක්වා මැතිවරණ පැවැත්වීමේ වගකීම උරදැරූ නිළධරයන් අදාළ ධූර දැරූ කාල සීමා දක්වමින් සකස්කරන ලද දළ සැකසුමකි.

Download Infographic in here

Parliamentary Election 2020 – Media coverage on CMEV Election Observation Process

The media is a stakeholder that can never be excluded in any country in which democratic elections are conducted. Regardless of whether the media entity is conventional and mainstream or alternative and new, media behavior indisputably affects the integrity of any election. Continued election observation undertaken by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) over several decades in Sri Lanka has strongly proven that the role of the media in the electoral process in the country is decisive.

While there is an ongoing discussion concerning the role of the media in this country, what is of utmost significance is establishing practices where the strong connectivity between the media and elections can be considered together, rather than allowing the media to be considered as a factor detached from the electoral process.

Accordingly, the objective of this small booklet designed and published by CMEV is to provide a glimpse of the nature of reporting carried out by mainstream newspapers during the election period. This reporting carried news and perspectives on the election to voters as the campaign unfolded. Sri Lankan newspapers have wide and increasing circulation across the country and thus have the power of informing and shaping the views of society, across any issue connected to elections. What is collated in this publication is the perspectives of a diverse range of newspapers having such circulation during the election.

පාර්ලිමේන්තු මැතිවරණය 2020 – මැතිවරණ ප්‍රචණ්ඩ ක්‍රියා නිරීක්ෂණ මධ්‍යස්ථානය හා සබැඳි මාධ්‍ය වාර්තාකරණය 

ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රීය  භාවිතයක් සහිත මැතිවරණ ක්‍රමවේදයක් අනුදත් කවර රාජ්‍යයක හෝ මාධ්‍ය යනු කිසිලෙසකත් බැහැර කල නොහැකි පාර්ශ්වකරුවෙකි. සම්ප්‍රදායික හෝ නව මාධ්‍ය වේවා එකී කවර මාධ්‍යයක හෝ හැසිරීම නිසැකව ම මැතිවරණයේ සුපිළිපන්නබව කෙරෙහි බලපෑමක් ඇති කරන්නේය. මෑත කාලීනව ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ද මැතිවරණ ක්‍රියාවලිය තුළ දිස්වන මාධ්‍ය භූමිකාව අතිශය තීරණාත්මක බව මැතිවරණ ප්‍රචණ්ඩ ක්‍රියා නිරීක්ෂණ මධ්‍යස්ථානය (CMEV) අඛණ්ඩව සිදුකරමින් තිබෙන මාධ්‍ය නිරීක්ෂණ හමුවේ තහවුරු වන කරුණකි.

එකී මාධ්‍ය හැසිරීම පිලිබඳව  දැනටමත් මෙරටේ යම් සමාජ කථිකාවක් නිර්මාණය වෙමින් තිබෙන අතර වඩාත් වැදගත් සාධකය වන්නේ මාධ්‍ය තවදුරටත් මැතිවරණ ක්‍රියාවලියෙන් වියුක්ත සාධකයක් ලෙස නොසලකා මැතිවරණ කෙරෙහි එහි පවත්නා අවියෝජනීය සබඳතාව වඩාත් සවිමත් වන ආකාරයේ භාවිතාවක් වෙත අවතීර්ණ වීමයි.  

එහිලා මැ.ප්‍ර.නි. මධ්‍යස්ථානය මඟින් ප්‍රකාශිත මෙම කුඩා ප්‍රමාණයේ ප්‍රකාශනයෙහි අරමුණ වන්නේ සම්ප්‍රදායික එනම් මුද්‍රිත මාධ්‍ය මැතිවරණ සමයේ සිදුකරන ලද වාර්තාකරණයේ හැඩරුව පිලිබඳ මැතිවරණ කෙරෙහි ආශක්ත පිරිස වෙත යම් හැඟීම් මාත්‍රයක්  ලබා දීමයි. ජන්දදායකයන් දැනුම්වත් කිරීම මතු නොව මැතිවරණ හා සබැඳි ඕනෑම ආකාරයක තේමාවක් පිලිබඳ සමාජය අවදි කිරීමෙහිලා පුවත්පත් සතු අසහාය බලයට අභියෝග කිරීම එතරම් පහසු කාර්යයක් නොවේ. මෙකී ප්‍රකාශණය තුළින් ද විද්‍යමාන වන්නේ මෙරටේ ප්‍රචලිත විවිධ මට්ටමේ පුවත්පත් මැතිවරණය කෙරෙහි දක්වා ඇති ආකල්පයෙහි හරස්කඩකි.

Download in here

Judgments on Election Violations

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).

Download the publication here

Hate Speech and Divisive Language During the Parliamentary General Election 2020

CMEV has prepared a report which provides an account of the incidence of hate speech and divisive language it has observed in the campaign for the Parliamentary General Election 2020. The report details notable incidents of hate speech and divisive language, and trends in them throughout the campaign period. It also highlights a public awareness campaign CMEV has undertaken addressing hate speech and divisive language.

Download the report here

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CMEV Election Observation Report – Presidential Election 2019

CMEV is pleased to present its final Election Observation Report for the 2019 Presidential Election. The report provides an overview of the election overall; key election features and trends; a summation of CMEV’s election observation activities; trends in election violations it finds notable; and recommendations for all election stakeholders to strengthen and improve the election process in Sri Lanka.

It also provides detail, data and tabulations on election violations observed and recorded by CMEV during the pre-election, Election Day and post-election periods; as well as the communiqués and materials CMEV published throughout the election period.

Download the Report in English here

Download the Report in Tamil here

COVID-19 and Elections: ANFREL and Sri Lankan election organisations release a Code of Conduct for election observers

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.

Download Statement in Sinhala

Download Statement in Tamil

Download Statement in English

“Working Amid a Global Pandemic” – CMEV activities update

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.

Download Report in here

Considerations for Holding an Election During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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.

Download guide in here

Local Authorities Elections: Observations on the Post-Election Results Period, Lessons Learned and Ways Forward

A critical dialogue on ‘the new provincial council’s election system” organized by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in partnership with People’s Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL) with the participation of all key stakeholders including  Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, political parties and Academia as well as Civil Society Leaders held recently in Colombo.

A brief review article was submitted under the title of “ Local Authorities Elections: Some Observations on Post Election Results   Period, Lesson Learnt and Way Forward”  by  Gayani Premathilake, Attorney – At- Law, Legal Officer, Ministry of Provincial Councils & Local Government and Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator – CMEV in this event.

Download the document in Tamil and Sinhala.

 

A guide on facilitation of voting rights for out-of-country voters

CMEV has taken a new initiative to identify and facilitate the voting rights of migrant workers in Sri Lanka that amounts to over two million persons. As one of the major contributing source to the national income through foreign revenue, the need to facilitate their inalienable right to participate in the political decision-making process has been recognized and addressed by a comprehensive document compiled with this regard. It encompasses the pertinent legal background and numerous methods utilized in other countries to avail out-of-country voters with facilities to exercise their right to vote.

Download the guide in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

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Guide document on Political rights and Representation of Persons with disabilities and the Electoral Process

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence is the first election observing organization in Sri Lanka that spearheaded numerous initiatives beneficial to the realization of voting rights of persons with disabilities with the auspices of  the Election Commission of Sri Lanka. CMEV has produced a comprehensive document combining the disability classification, rights and entitlements of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka and  legal provisions to facilitate their political rights in line with the electoral process of Sri Lanka.

Download the document in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

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Policy brief on political rights and representation of persons with disabilities

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), as the very first election observing organization in Sri Lanka that spearheaded numerous initiatives beneficial to the realization of voting rights of the persons with disabilities with the auspices of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, has been able to reach out to over 250 representatives of  leading Disabled Persons’ Organizations from over 20 districts around the country and obtain their input regarding the issues faced by them concerning the electoral process.

The focal point on persons with disabilities and older persons, that has been appointed by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, also took part in these consultative discussions where the issues of the said DPOs were presented and suitable recommendations deliberated with the relevant stakeholders related to the electoral process.

Download the report in English here and Sinhala here.

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A recap on previous elections through cartoons

The two national level elections which were held in the year 2015 can be regarded as the elections which acquired the widest visibility and prominent attention in the recent past. While those elections were apparently referred to as free and fair in every sense, the enormous efforts taken by the relevant stakeholders to preserve the integrity of the said election should also be commended emphatically. The greatest visibility was received at the time with this regard was by the Department of Elections, Department of Police and the election monitoring organizations.

One of the predominantly noticeable trends throughout the period in which the said elections were held, was the inculcation of the role of the then Commissioner of Elections Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya in diverse ways by the print media through newspapers by way of cartoons. Undoubtedly, grasping the way in which the media operated during such a crucial period would be instrumental for anyone who is exploring the history of elections in Sri Lanka. In that regard, the elements reflected through the cartoons which appeared in the newspapers at the time, will provide invaluable insights to anybody who is investigating about the history of elections in Sri Lanka.

Access the contents of the book here.

cover-book

Publications on Disability Rights

During the last Presidential Election, CMEV was able to mainstream its Election observation process, providing opportunities for Persons with Disabilities to work at CMEV office, as well as in the field as short term Election observers. At the same time, CMEV worked to Educate and inform Persons With Disabilities to exercise their right to vote while proactively engaging in the civil life without being discriminated on grounds of disability. Currently CMEV has taken a new initiative to provide Braille printing of all available main Election Acts and Regulations as well as produce booklets and other awareness material on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the role and responsibilities of Government agencies including Local Authorities, towards protecting their rights.

The two books in Sinhala and Tamil can be downloaded below;

CBM Book-Tamil

CBM Book-Sinhala

View the infographics in Sinhala and Tamil below;

CBM infographic Tamil 2016-05-20

CBM infographic Sinhala 2016-05-25