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

_________________________________________________________________

Download Statement in Sinhala

Download Statement in Tamil

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

Facebook Post Click here

JOINT STATEMENT: MYANMAR: STOP THE COUP, LET ELECTION TRIBUNALS DO THEIR JOB

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.

More Information follow the link

https://anfrel.org/joint-statement-myanmar-stop-the-coup-let-election-tribunals-do-their-job/

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: https://fb.watch/28XaRTFyx1/

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

Parliamentary General Election 2020 – Election Day Communiqué 2

Incidents on Election Day up to 1 p.m.

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 Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) supporter attacked and injured two ACMC supporters at Jamaldeen Square, Pottuvil in Digamadulla district at around 2.30AM today. The victims have been hospitalised.
  • The authorised Polling Agent for National Congress M..A. Rasheed was seated inside the Al Kalam Maha Vidyala Hall 1 Polling Station in Pottuvil, Digamadula District, wearing a face mask branded with a NC candidate preference number
  • CMEV received reports that at around 8:30 am, several voters at Indrarama Viharasthanaya polling station in  Padukka in the Colombo district were receiving calls from one phone number; asking them to vote for SLPP candidate Thilanga Sumathipala.
  • CMEV received reports that a SLPP supporter was distributing model ballot papers and influencing voters to vote for the SLPP at around 8:10 am, at the polling station at Thopawewa National School in the Polonnaruwa district
  • CMEV received reports that supporters of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) were forcing voters to vote for the party in the vicinity of the polling station at Katpahapuram Government Tamil Mixed School Vavuniya, in the Vanni district.
  • CMEV observed Polonnaruwa Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) candidate Hameed Mohammed attempting to talk to Polling Station officials and influence voters to vote for him at the Gallalla Al-Azhar Maha Vidyalaya polling station in Polonnaruwa.
  • CMEV received reports that Nuwara-Eliya SLPP candidate C.B. Ratnayake’s supporters entered Pannala Maha Vidyalaya Hall 2 in Walpone, Nuwara-Eliya in a drunken state at around 8.30AM and acted in a disorderly manner disturbing election officials.
  • CMEV received reports that a Senior Presiding Officer at a polling station in Thalpawila was influencing elderly voters, asking them to vote for SLPP Matara district candidate Nipuna Ranawaka. The SPO followed said voters to the ballot box and watched whilst they cast their vote.
  • CMEV observers report that Kurunegala SLPP candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa is traveling across the Nikawaretiya electorate with an unauthorised large number of supporters and vehicles, and has visited Mahasen National School Halls 1 & 2 Polling Stations
  • CMEV received reports that Puttalam Ulukkapalam Muslim MV& Anamaduwa Siyabalagaswewa Community Hall polling stations were small, no social distancing maintained, election officials didn’t follow #COVID19 health guidelines and health inspectors did not intervene.

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

CMEV Field Visit Report II – Election Situation Analysis as of 2nd August 2020

During the last week of the election campaign, CMEV launched its second evaluation of the ground campaign with an extensive focus given to voters’ interest levels in participating in the election. This evaluation covers the period up to August 2, 2020, after which the silent period with a prohibition on campaigning begins.

Download the report in English here

Election Violations Update #7 (August 2, 2020)

The seventh update of election violations CMEV has observed and recorded covers the period until August 2.

CMEV එය විසින් නිරීක්ෂණය සහ වාර්තා කරන ලද මැතිවරණ නීති උල්ලංඝණය කිරීම් හා ප්‍රචණ්ඩ ක්‍රියා පිළිබඳ හත්වන සිද්ධි වාර්තාකරණය අගෝස්තු 2 වන තෙක් කාලය ආවරණය කරයි.

சீ.எம்.இ.வி யின் 7வது தேர்தல் சட்ட மீறல்கள் மற்றும் வன்முறைகள் சம்பந்தமான கண்காணிப்பு அறிக்கை, ஆகஸ்ட் மாதம் 2ம் திகதி வரையிலாகும்.