CMEV’s Election Campaign Cost Monitoring Unit is Accepting Election Expense Details from the Public

If you know any details about expenses related to the election campaigns of any political parties/candidates, inform the Election Campaign Cost Monitoring Unit established by CMEV

දේශපාලන පක්ෂ/අපේක්ෂකයන් ස්වකීය පාර්ලිමේන්තු මැතිවරණ ප‍්‍රචාරණය උදෙසා වැය කරන වියදම් පිළිබඳ ව ඔබ දන්නේ නම්, මැතිවරණ ප‍්‍රචණ්ඩ ක‍්‍රියා නිරීක්ෂණ මධ්‍යස්ථානය මඟින් පිහිටුවා ඇති “මැතිවරණ පිරිවැය පිළිබඳ නිරීක්ෂණ ඒකකය” අමතන්න

அரசியல் கட்சிகள்ஃ வேட்பாளர்கள் சுயமாக பாராளுமன்ற தேர்தல் பிரசார நடவடிக்கைகளுக்கு செய்கின்ற செலவூகள் தொடர்பாக நீங்கள் அறிவீர்கள் எனில்இ எமக்கு அந்த தகவல்களை அறியத் தாருங்கள்

CMEV Field Visit Report – Election Situation Analysis as of 15th July 2020

CMEV conducted its first evaluation of the ground situation during the election campaign for the Parliamentary General Election 2020. This observation mission was conducted two weeks since the official campaigns of the major political parties and candidates were launched. Four field teams together with field observers conducted these field evaluations in the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Digamadulla, Nuwara-Eliya and Monaragala electoral districts with the primary objectives of observing the commitment of political parties and candidates in following the health guidelines for conducting election campaigning amidst the COVID-19 outbreak; gauging public interest in participating in the elections; and developments in the ground campaigns. This report summarises the field findings.

Download the report in English

CMEV Statement on Gazetted COVID-19 Elections Regulations

July 19, 2020 – The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) welcomes the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services finally gazetting the COVID-19 Elections Regulations on July 17, 2020. This comes 38 days after the ‘Health Guidelines for Conducting the Elections amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak’ (‘the original guidelines’) were first issued by the Ministry on June 09, 2020 and only 19 days before Election Day. Moreover, CMEV expresses its concern that a number of changes have been made to the original guidelines from when they were first published to them being gazetted as regulations. In particular:

  • the maximum number of persons permitted to attend a meeting has been increased from 100 to 300, and 500 if the party leader is attending
  • the maximum number of persons permitted to engage in door-to-door canvassing has been increased from 3 to 5
  • numerous provisions in the original guidelines have been omitted from the gazetted regulations altogether, including provisions relating to: checking and bundling of ballot papers at District Returning offices (section 2.5 of the original guidelines); polling booths (2.9); conducting election in the quarantine centres (2.10); receiving ballot boxes at counting centres (2.11); counting centre etiquette (2.12); results tabulation centres (2.13); transport of staff and materials (2.14); special instructions for Police officers (3); disinfection (4); waste disposal (5); after the election (6). Also missing is the Health Administrative Structure outlined in section 7 to implement the guidelines.

CMEV is alarmed by these changes given that the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country appears to be worsening. Relaxing physical campaigning restrictions is likely to expose more voters to COVID-19 through increased campaigning activities. Relaxing the restrictions on meeting attendance depending on the attendance of party leaders seems especially illogical.

Taking all this into consideration, CMEV requests the Minister of Health and Indigenous Medical Services and the Director-General of Health Services to:

  • Gazette the remaining provisions in the originally published guidelines, and
  • Provide an explanation to the voting public about why the originally published guidelines have been relaxed in this manner, and what steps they will take if the relaxed guidelines contribute to the pandemic situation becoming worse
  • Work with healthcare workers, particularly PHIs, to resolve existing issues and to promote the regulations and educate the public

CMEV is fully committed to the election being held in a free, fair and safe manner, however, it insists that the government and health authorities have a responsibility to guarantee the health of all voters in the process, beyond short-term partisan electoral gains.

Download this statement in English
Download this statement in Sinhala

CMEV inquires about delay in gazetting election Health Guidelines

CMEV wrote to the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine and the Director General Health Services questioning the unusual delay in gazetting COVID19 Health Guidelines for conducting the Parliamentary General Election. CMEV seeks assurance that the delay is not for any political advantage.

“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

Nomination Lists of Political Parties and Independent Groups for the Parliamentary General Election 2020

CMEV has compiled the nomination lists of political party and independent groups’ candidates to contest each electoral district in the upcoming Parliamentary General Election 2020.

Click the District to download its Nomination List

  • Northern Province :- Jaffna | Vanni (Vanni electoral district includes the administrative districts of Mullaitivu, Mannar and Vavuniya)

CMEV Letter to Election Commission on Department of Samurdhi Development Misusing Voter List

Complaint letter CMEV lodged with the Election Commission about the Director-General of Department of Samurdhi Development misusing voter lists released for COVID-19 relief programmes to campaign illegally. CMEV is still awaiting a response.

Download Letter in Sinhala

Download Letter in English

CMEV Calls for Postponement of General Election 2020

CMEV Calls for Postponement of General Election 2020

March 17, 2020 – The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) is urging the Election Commission to postpone General Election 2020 scheduled for April 25, 2020, in light of the escalating CORVID-19 pandemic.

Many activities required for holding the election bring many people into close contact with each other, thereby posing significant risks of viral transmission. This includes thousands of election officers, party officials, Police officers and election observers being in close proximity to each other at the thousands of polling stations and counting centres across the country; physical contact between election officers and voters as voters are marked with indelible ink and handed ballot papers; and the handling of the same ballot paper by numerous election officials for vote counting purposes. All election campaigning activities, including public rallies and meetings, also bring many people into close contact with each other.

CMEV notes that the ongoing spread of the CORVID-19 pandemic and government measures to combat it (including closures of schools and other public venues, restrictions on mass gatherings and travel restrictions) are likely to have a significant impact on voter turnout on Election Day, and that many voters would be discouraged from voting due to fears of being in close proximity to many others at polling stations. This also broadly impacts voters’ right to freely exercise their vote, and the ability to hold a free and fair election.

CMEV also notes that elections scheduled to be held during the months of March to May have been postponed in many countries including the United Kingdom, France, India and Spain due to the escalating CORVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of postponement, the Election Commission can formally request the President to withdraw Extraordinary Gazette 2165/8, which would have the effect of reversing the dissolution of Parliament and the calling of an election. The Election Commission can alternately, under the gazette with the notice of poll it will issue after the close of nominations, postpone the election unilaterally under the powers it will acquire thereafter.

CMEV is prepared to offer any assistance it can and work with the Election Commission to ensure that General Election 2020 can be held under conditions where Sri Lankans are able to exercise their right to vote in a truly free and fair manner.

CMEV Letter to National Police Commission on Police Transfers During Election Period

March 06, 2020

Mr. Nishantha A. Weerasinghe,
Secretary,
National Police Commission,
Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall Premises,
Block 9,
Colombo 07

Dear Secretary,

Transfers of commissioned and other Police officers during the election period

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) would like to express its appreciation of Sri Lanka Police as one of the key stakeholders of the election process in this country during the previous Presidential Election in 2019. We strongly believe that in the context of the upcoming General Election, Sri Lanka Police will perform its duties in a similarly commendable manner to ensure a free and fair election.

To this end, one of the most decisive factors is creating a conducive background for all police officers working in various locations across the country to be able to perform their duties and responsibilities in an independent manner without any undue influence.

Several reports we have received so far indicate that this policy is not being completely followed. This includes the apparent plans to transfer Mr. Uchith Liyanage, Senior Superintendent of Police of Seethawaka area and place as the Deputy Director of the Women and Child Bureau. Our reports indicate that he is to be replaced by Mr. Sudath Wedamulla, Senior Superintendent of Police who was recently appointed as a Personal Assistant of a Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police after being transferred from Anuradhapura.

In the face of a national level election, CMEV emphasises that any alleged attempts of transferring will be a direct violation of the explicit guidelines provided by the Election Commission. As per usual electoral processes in Sri Lanka, the Police must also consult the Election Commission before any such transfer. In the past when neither the National Police Commission nor the Election Commission had been established, the Department of Elections and the Department of Police jointly managed these kinds of situations in a very coordinated and supportive manner. The work accomplished through such coordination had generated better results too. We also trust that the Inspector General of Police (Acting) has enormous experience of similar essential transfers done in a well-coordinated manner.

Thus, we strongly expect the National Police Commission to pay your kind attention to rectify any such transfers that have either already taken place or will take place. It is the absolute responsibility of the National Police Commission to ensure the independent functioning of the Police service during elections. CMEV also notes that numerous baseless and unanticipated allegations against independent Commissions are being made in the current climate. It is the sole responsibility of the Commissions to build and strengthen their reputations. The National Police Commission can do that here by taking strong, principled decisions and promoting independent practices within Sri Lanka Police in a careful, professional and just manner.

Finally, CMEV will extend our fullest support for any decisions your Commission will take in order to protect and enhance the integrity of electoral processes of this country.

Your attention for above mentioned matters will be highly appreciated.

Manjula Gajanayake,
National Coordinator,
CMEV

Copied to:

  • Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya, Chairman, Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.
  • Mr. H.M.T.D. Herath, Secretary, Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.
  • Mr. C.D. Wickramarathne, Inspector General of Police (Acting) Sri Lanka Police, Police Headquarters, Colombo 01.
  • Mr. Saman Sri Rathnayake, Commissioner General, Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.
  • Mr. Priyantha Weerasooriya, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (Elections), Sri Lanka Police, Police Headquarters, Colombo 01.
  • Mr. Suranga Ranashinghe, Assistant Election Commissioner, Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.
  • Mr. Ashoka Dharmasena, Senior Superintendent of Police (Director-Elections), Sri Lanka Police, Police Headquarters, Colombo 01.

CMEV Letter to Election Commission on Kurunegala Teaching Hospital Director and Public Officials Engaging in Illegal Election Campaigning

March 06, 2020


Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya,
Chairperson,
Election Commission,
Election Secretariat Office,
Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.

Dear Mr. Deshapriya,

Public Officials Engaging in Illegal Election Campaigning

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) would like to express its appreciation of the Election Commission for some positive decisions that have been already taken based on certain incidents in relation to the upcoming General Election. 

We believe that, similar to the last Presidential Election, there will be a rise in public officials engaging in election campaigning and making undue interventions which contravene their functions.

CMEV wishes to highlight one such incident regarding the Director of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital, Doctor A.M.S. Weerabandara, who has been engaging in election campaigning in a very biased and ethnically divisive manner while still remaining a public official.

The extensive efforts being taken by the Election Commission to ensure the integrity of the election process is challenged and put at a high risk by activity such as the above being done without receiving appropriate leave or by terminating the current employment for the purpose of promoting various political parties.

Section 01 of Chapter 32 of the Establishment Code of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, provides limitations through sub-sections 1.1, 1.2.3 and 1.3 on staff officers not being entitled to enjoy political rights, specifically on the establishment of election candidacy or executing initial actions for the purpose of election candidacy. These provisions have been violated by the Director’s actions.

We urge the Election Commission to take immediate action to initiate an investigation on the conduct of the said Director who should be aware of the limitations imposed on a staff officer yet has intentionally both violated the election law and disregarded the medical profession’s rules and regulations related to the public service for the purpose of political gains.  

We urge the Election Commission to use for an investigation:

  • Enclosed observation notes and records compiled by CMEV
  • Acknowledgement by the Director himself that he engaged in such election campaigning
  • The Director’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DrSarath-Weerabandara-105479324381092/
  • An article published in the Ravaya newspaper on March 05, 2020 titled “Hospital Director Disdains the Law”

Your attention and action on this matter will be highly appreciated.

Manjula Gajanayake,
National Coordinator,
CMEV

Copied to:

  • Mr. H.M.T.D. Herath, Secretary, Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.
  • Mr. Saman Sri Rathnayake, Commissioner General, Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.
  • Mr. Suranga Ranashinghe, Assistant Election Commissioner, Election Commission, Election Secretariat, Sarana Road, Rajagiriya.

CMEV Commences General Election 2020 Operations

CMEV will be monitoring election law violations, campaign expenses & social media activity, and conducting voter education during the upcoming #GenElecSL as well.

Join us through Facebook, Twitter (twitter.com/cmev) and cmev.org.

මැ.ප්‍ර.නි.ම මෙවරද මැතිවරණ නීති උල්ලංඝනය, මැතිවරණ ප්‍රචාරක වියදම්, ඡන්ද දායකයින් දැනුවත් කිරීම හා සමාජ මාධ්‍ය හැසිරීම පිලිබඳ පුළුල් නිරීක්ෂණයක් සිදු කරනු ලබයි.

Facebook, Twitter (twitter.com/cmev.) සහ cmev.org හරහා අපත් සමග එකතු වන්න.

இம்முறையும் CMEV தேர்தல் சட்ட மீறல்கள், தேர்தல் பிரசார செலவுகள் , வாக்காளர்களை விழிப்பூட்டல் மற்றும் சமூக ஊடக செயற்பாடுகள் குறித்து பரந்த கண்காணிப்பை மேற்கொள்கின்றது.

Facebook, Twitter (twitter.com/cmev) மற்றும் CMEV.org ஊடாக எம்மோடு இணைந்திருங்கள்.