Statement on the Reported Death During the Local Government Elections 2023

CMEV expresses its grave concern about the first death reported yesterday in connection with the Local
Government Elections 2023. This death follows from the undemocratic and repressive actions of the Sri Lanka
Police to prevent a protest rally organised by the National People’s Power (NPP). Nimal Amarasiri, a NPP candidate
for the Nivithigala Pradeshiya Sabha, died from injuries sustained due to Police-directed water cannon and tear gas assaults at the protest rally in Colombo, on February 26, 2023.

The NPP rally was held to protest the indefinite postponement of Local Government Elections announced by the
Election Commission in the face of continuous obstructions to holding elections from the President and
Government. The rally was held in defiance of a Court Order against it. The Police directed heavy water cannon and tear gas assaults at the large crowd, leading to 28 people being hospitalized and two being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. One of these persons was Mr. Amarasiri, who passed away yesterday.

CMEV deplores the oppressive efforts by the Government led by the President to violate the people’s right to vote.
In particular, CMEV condemns the Government’s use of the Police to obstruct people’s democratic rights and act
in an extremely repressive manner. CMEV reminds the Government and all public officials that they are duty-bound
to protect the people’s fundamental right to vote. As such, the Sri Lanka Police and all relevant public authorities
should comply fully with the inquiry initiated by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka at a minimum, and
refrain from preventing, obstructing and/or inflicting violence on any future democratic protests.

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Fundamental Rights application challenging the failure to take the necessary steps to hold the Local Government Elections.

28th February 2023. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director filed a Fundamental Rights application challenging the failure and/or refusal of several government departments to take the necessary steps to hold the Local Government Elections. CPA is a constituent member and acts as the secretariat to the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV).

Elections to elect persons as members of Local Authorities in Sri Lanka are required to be held every 04 years (48 months) in terms of the relevant statutes. Elections were previously held in 2018, and the term of the Local Authorities that were due to expire in 2022 were extended for a year thereafter, and their term will expire shortly, with no further option available in law for extension.

On 30th January 2023, it was announced that the poll for Local Authorities Elections would be held on 09th March 2023. However, on 13th February 2023, the Elections Commission announced that it had been informed by the Government Printer that it would not be able to print the ballots necessary for the postal voting, if funds were not provided. It has also been reported that the Government Printer had stated that they cannot print the required ballot papers due to lack of Police security.

The Petitioners stated that the conduct of the Government Printer and the Inspector General of Police are indicative of a coordinated campaign to procrastinate the holding of Local Authority elections. The Petitioners also stated that the President, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, and the Secretary to the Treasury have not, until the very last minute on the 23rd February 2023 indicated that there is a challenge in the allocation of funds to conduct the elections. These actions are prejudicial to the fundamental rights of the Petitioners and citizens of Sri Lanka.

The Petitioners have emphasized that the exercise of franchise as required in terms of the law is essential for a country to be a democracy, and the conduct of elections must be treated as an essential, for Sri Lanka to be and remain a democratic republic.

The Petitioners state that their rights under Articles 10, 12(1) and 14(1)(a) of the Constitution have been violated and/or continue to be violated by such attempts to sabotage and stall the holding of the Local Authority elections.

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Report election violence and misconduct to CMEV

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence introduced a hotline for reporting election violence or any kind of misconduct related to local government election 2023.

If you have been subjected to violence, threats or social media harassment during the local government election campaign season as a candidate or a voter , or if you have experienced illegal campaigning or misuse of public property for election campaigning, please call us through the below numbers.

Sinhala Medium Calls – 0112 584 051

Tamil Medium Calls – 0112 584 047

Statement on death threats received to two members of the Election Commission

CMEV learnt that it is alleged that two members of the Election Commission, Mr. K.P.P. Pathirana and Mr. S.B. Divaratna were threatened with death if they did not resign from the Commission, last evening via WhatsApp. CMEV vehemently condemns such undemocratic and violent actions and calls for complete transparency in investigations which have already been commenced by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Police.

CMEV also expresses its concern over several efforts taken by different parties to postpone scheduled Local Government elections and the possibility of this incident being associated with these efforts. Therefore, we urge the government to ensure a peaceable and secure environment for all the actors including election officials to conduct the election without any undue influence and within the period of time stipulated in the Local Government Elections Ordinance.

CMEV also urges the Election Commission to ensure that any such deplorable incidents will not cause further delays in Local Government Elections.

CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political Violence as an independent and nonpartisan organization to monitor the incidence of election-related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.

Dr. P. Saravanamuttu – Co – Convenor

Mr. Lasantha De Silva – Co-Convenor,

Mr. Udaya Kalupathirana – Co-Convenor

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A Civil Society Consultative Committee for Electoral Reforms

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) and Peoples Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) together with all other election observation and advocacy organizations held a discussion on forming a Civil Society Consultative Committee for Electoral Reforms on November 8, 2022, at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. The main objective of the committee was to provide constructive intervention as civil societies for electoral reforms while raising a collective voice for a transparent and accountable electoral process. In addition to the Civil Society Organizations, the Chairman of the Delimitation Commission, Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya, the Election Commissioner General, Mr. Saman Sri Ratnayake, the Additional Election Commissioner of the Law and Investigation Division, Mr. B.P.C.Kularatne and the Director of  Planning  Mr. Channa P de Silva also participated in the discussion. CMEV and PAFFREL will continue this initiative with the support of all other CSOs to ensure the introduction of many required changes to the Sri Lankan Electoral system with public consultations.

CMEV’s Statement on Current Crisis Situation in Sri Lanka

May 25, 2022.

CMEV’s Statement on Current Crisis Situation in Sri Lanka

CMEV expresses its deep concern about the rapid deterioration of democrasscy and the rule of law in the country. Following the devastating violence in many parts of the country on May 09, 2022, CMEV has reports that the police investigations and arrests of perpetrators are taking place under political influence. It has been reported to CMEV that some of the suspects were arrested without clear evidence of their connections to the violence. In one case, a 16 years old boy sitting for the O/L examination had been arrested and only granted bail on the afternoon of Monday, May 23, just for being in a photograph of a large crowd gathered in the Eravur area. 

CMEV has also observed the reluctance of police to arrest people who initiated violence at the ‘Maina Go Gama’ and ‘Gota Go Gama’ on May 9, 2022, even though video and other evidence is available. It was reported to CMEV that the Attorney General’s Department had obtained an order suspending the foreign travel of Fr. Jeewantha Peiris and many others, who have lodged complainants and been eyewitnesses of the ‘Gota Go Gama’ attack. They all are active supporters of non-partisan peoples’ struggles. 

CMEV urges all law implementing agencies to act independently and accountably to ensure law and order and the rule of law in society. CMEV was shocked to learn that 182 OICs out of 184 appointed during the period from 01.01.2011 to 03.11.2021 do not possess the required qualification for the post according to the letter dated 06.12.2021 by the Mr C.D. Wickramaratne, IGP. This is now available online. The political bias of OICs toward ruling party politicians in the area is well-known. CMEV urges the Police Commission and the Ministry of Public Security to rectify the situation immediately. CMEV also reiterates the need for disciplinary action against officers who have allegedly responded illegally against public protests, violating the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and to the freedom of expression. 

CMEV believes that the present political crisis will not be resolved unless the public gets an opportunity to elect a new government. The majority of the current members of parliament have lost the public’s trust. As the President has no constitutional power to dissolve parliament till February 20, 2023, CMEV urges MPs of all parties to respect the values of representative democracy by passing a motion to request the Executive President to dissolve the parliament and move to a general election at the earliest.  This would enable constituents to elect representatives who have their trust and confidence, to handle the present crisis. 

CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political Violence as an independent and nonpartisan organization to monitor the incidence of election-related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.

Dr. P. Saravanamuttu – Co – Convenor

Mr. Lasantha De Silva – Co-Convenor,

Mr. Udaya Kalupathirana – Co-Convenor


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Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) for the empowerment of women’s representation in Sri Lanka

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. 

Executive Director of CPA & Co-convenor of CMEV Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu’s Northern Visit

Executive Director of CPA and Co-convenor of CMEV Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu with A.M.N. Victor, Coordinator of CMEV visited to Northern Province 24th to 26th of January 2022.

Following are some Photographs

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On 1 February, the armed forces of Myanmar (Tatmadaw), ostensibly acting on allegations of voter fraud in the general elections of 8 November 2020, detained numerous government officials, including State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, and Union Election Commission (UEC) Chair U Hla Thein, as well as pro-democracy activists and politicians from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) and other parties.

The Tatmadaw subsequently announced that it would seize power, declare a one-year state of emergency, and install Vice-President and retired general U Myint Swe as acting president. It was also announced that new elections would be held after the state of emergency under a new election commission, which was later appointed on the night of 2 February.

The undersigned election or human rights monitoring organizations condemn the military coup in Myanmar and call for the immediate release of all detained politicians, government officials, and activists. The Tatmadaw must restore power to the civilian-led government, and seek redress of election-related complaints through the due process of law established under the 2008 Constitution.

Indeed, Myanmar’s Constitution and election laws provide a mechanism to resolve disputes in the form of election tribunals. The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which has repeatedly made claims of vote-rigging and irregularities in the recent general elections, has like any other stakeholder the legal right to formally contest election results. It certainly has done so, filing 174 complaints out of the 287 received by the UEC.

Election observers were looking forward to seeing all election-related complaints and potential evidence presented and addressed in tribunal proceedings. According to our information, the UEC was about to proceed with the appointment of election tribunals when the military intervened. Election dispute resolution is an integral part of any electoral process, which rests on the fundamental premise that all sides act in good faith.

Therefore, the Tatmadaw must back down from its coup attempt and instead engage in a peaceful and transparent election dispute resolution process. The road to a fully realized democracy is long and arduous, but it is important that all stakeholders commit to upholding and protecting democratic norms. A repeat of what transpired after the 1990 general elections would mark a stark return to authoritarianism and will not be accepted by the people of Myanmar and the international community.

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Are elections held in an Unlevel Playing Field is Free? Fair?

What is the golden rule that should exist in any sport? All competitors compete on an equal playing field. Elections are also a sport in a democratic country. Its competitors are candidates. However, no such level playing field has been created for the forthcoming elections in this country. Is it a dream to find such a level playing field as long as election campaign finance is not regulated?
Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) cordially invites you to join us for the first  webinar discussion on ” Importance of Regulating Election Campaign Finance to create a level playing field in Elections in Sri Lanka” 

The webinar discussion will be on the 29th of November commencing at 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm, in the Tamil language with the participation of Parliamentarians and prominent political women activists. 
We would greatly value your participation and contribution to the discussion  We kindly request you to join us 15 minutes prior to the session. 

Please watch full program via the following  link:

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 General Election 2020 – Election Day Communiqué 3

Incidents on Election Day up to 5 p.m. and the close of polls

CMEV recorded a total of 301 election violations up to 5 p.m. 151 of these related to illegal campaigning while intimidation/influencing (57) and illegal posters/cutouts (21) were also prominent.

The following incidents are specific incidents received and confirmed by CMEV’s field monitors stationed at polling stations across the country:

  • CMEV received reports that 60 All Ceylon Tamil Congress supporters had arrived at ITAK supporter J Kishanthan’s house in Kalmunai, Digamadulla district at 9PM on Aug 4, assaulted several persons there & damaged property. Two persons have been hospitalised
  • CMEV received reports that a SLPP supporter was distributing a chit bearing numbers of the party’s Gampaha district candidates along with a rambutan to voters at the Ganhinigama North Community Hall polling centre in the Dompe
  • Numerous candidates continued to run ads on Facebook despite the campaigning prohibition on Election Day
  • It was reported to CMEV that Madolsima police arrested a boy aged 14 for providing transport services to voters to the Kohenewala Sinhala Vidayalaya polling station in Passara, Badulla district by a lorry. Later, the boy was released on bail on the grounds that he is under 18. The OIC of the police informed that they will report this matter to the court
  • It was reported to CMEV that Bogahakumbura Police arrested a group of persons with a van who were distributing leaflets for Badulla SJB candidate Chaminda Wijesiri. The Police will produce the suspects at the nearest Magistrate tomorrow.
  • It was reported to CMEV that SLPP Pradeshiya Sabha members including Suresh Warnasooriya had lighted firecrackers within 50m of the Kobeigane Sri Parakrama Vidyalaya polling station in Nikaweatiya, Kurunegala district.
  • There were a number of incidences of votes being recorded as already being cast when a voter arrived at the polling station. A number of affected persons were given dual ballot papers and allowed to vote after giving statements. Some went onto lodge complaints with the Election Commission. 

Further information on the types, perpetrating parties and locations of the incidents CMEV has recorded is detailed in the charts below:

Download the Communiqué in English