It is the eighth decade that’s being elapsed since Sri Lanka was bestowed with universal franchise. Apart from few instances, which took place in certain elections, Sri Lanka could boast of a proud history in terms of elections with a unique identity. If any electoral reform regardless of its model or approach, should take place following the tradition that reflects the Sri Lankan identity in elections. Not a single country in the world has formulated a perfect election system.
Accordingly, a certain level of regulation should be exercised on campaign finances with a proper understanding about the prevailing political background in the country. Hence a regulating mechanism should be formulated through a series of consultative discussions with the involvement of Election Commission, political parties, Election Observing Organizations and other stakeholders. The following points should be taken into account in such an undertaking that is carried out with the legal sphere.
Introducing fundamental requisites on assets and liabilities of political parties and candidates should become the basis to any regulatory mechanism.
Regardless of the nature of regulatory mechanism thus introduced, it should not distance the politician from the elector. It is essential to make sure that such a mechanism does not curtail the freedom of expression.
The politicians should be convinced that the money is received as a privilege for engaging in responsible politics. Accordingly it is important to discuss about the ways of refining the mechanism to be agreeable for both the politicians and the voters while considering the need for inculcating the useful best practices and elements of other systems adopted and recognized internationally.
Read the articles in Sinhala below – translations will be made available soon.
Assets, Liabilities and Elections
Campaign Finance – Not a new Concept
Towards a Clean Political Culture
Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) initiated a voter education programme called ‘Provincial Council Elections Voter Education and Outreach Programme’ with the support of USAID-DAI (SDGAP). The main focus is to invoke awareness for women candidates who are willing to contest in the next provincial councils elections to be held island-wide. CMEV is planning to conduct a series of district-level awareness workshops inviting selected prospective candidates across the country.
The Seventh in this series of workshops was conducted at Peradeniya University in Kandy. Over 70 women activists including women members of Local government, active supporters of political parties, women CSO leaders and selected students attended in this one day awareness training. Mr. Namal Thalangama, Deputy Commissioner of Elections, Kandy District was delivered the key note speech in this event. CMEV organised this event in partnership with the faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya.
A Civil Society Committee was brought together by the Centre for Motioning Election Violence (CMEV) and the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) to review the Provincial Council Election System and to make appropriate recommendations. The committee commenced reviewing the Provincial Council (Amendment) Election Act on the 1st of June 2018 and the released their report with recommendations within 2 months of commencing the task.
“As a civil society group committed to supporting our elected representatives to do the right thing, we respectfully submit that the Parliament should act to:
- Immediately clear misunderstandings about the Mixed Member Proportional Representation Method,
- Address the real issues concerning the method through suitable legislation, and
- Conduct elections without delay for all relevant Provincial Councils whose terms have ended.”
The committee has already submitted a complete report with recommendations to the relevant parties including the Speaker of the Parliament, Minister of Provincial Councils & Local Government Faiszer Musthapha, as well as all main political party leaders. Ministry of Provincial Councils & Local Government has undertaken to submit this report for the consideration of Cabinet members on 07th August 2018.
Dr. P. Saravanamuttu, Executive Director of Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and the Co-convener of Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director of People’s Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Prof. Sudantha Liyanage, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator of Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) and Amar Gunatileke, Chief Executive Officer of Marga Institute attended the media conference on the 2nd of August 2018 at the Public Library Auditorium, Colombo 07.
Download the trilingual version of the report as well as separate versions in English, Tamil and Sinhala.
Manjula Gajanayake, National Coordinator of CMEV on RanOneFM’s ‘7.17’.
He spoke about the criticism made by political parties and other relevant parties regarding the Local Government Election system which was applied for the recently concluded elections. Further he gave his insights with regard to the current situation on holding of Provincial Councils Elections. Additionally, he particularly mentioned on the Civil Society Review Committee of the New Provincial Councils Elections Act.
Watch the discussion here.
The Election Commission of Sri Lanka celebrated Voters Day for the third time since its establishment, with a national event at Kegalle town hall on 01st June 2018. District level celebrations were also organized by district election officers across the country. CMEV also extended its support and representatives attended this series of events.
In 2013, the Commissioner of Elections declared June 1st ‘Voters Day’. It was made mandatory through the enumeration process that all eligible Sri Lankan citizens who are 18 years of age or above must be registered as electors on this day every year.
This new list is the only one that can be used for any election conducted after the month of October 2018. Grama Niladharis undertakes the enumeration and special enumerators are appointed for this work in the Colombo and Negombo Municipal Council Areas.
Download the Local Authorities Election 2018 – Media Communique as at 4.00pm in English and Tamil.
Northern Province Coordinator for the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Nirmala Bernard Joseph gives a situation update as at the close of polls for the Local Government elections. Video in Tamil.