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. 

CMEV Collaborates with EC to enhance EDR Awareness

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.