A well-administered election day but challenges in the pre-election period

A well-administered election day but challenges in the pre-election period

commenwealthCommonwealth Expert Team issues Final Report on 2010 Presidential Election in Sri Lanka

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, today released the Final Report of the Commonwealth Expert Team which observed the 26 January Presidential election in Sri Lanka.

In issuing the report, he noted the Team’s conclusion that, “even though on the day of the election voters were free to express their will, shortcomings primarily in the pre-election period meant that overall the 2010 Presidential elections in Sri Lanka did not fully meet key benchmarks for democratic elections.“

The Secretary-General added: “Many of the problems identified reflect the same problems identified during previous elections. These problems – which have also been highlighted by the country’s own Commissioner of Elections – will hopefully receive urgent consideration. The Commonwealth is ready to assist as requested”.

The Secretary-General was encouraged by the report’s finding that, “the administrative arrangements for voting and counting were well conducted and the Commissioner of Elections and his staff across the country expended great effort to put in place procedures to ensure Sri Lankans were able to cast their ballots.”

Referring to post-election developments in the country, including the arrest of the main opposition candidate for the presidential elections, the Secretary-General said: “These developments have increased tension. It is important that the rule of law and due process are applied.” The Secretary-General also expressed the hope that, “Sri Lanka will move towards political and social reconciliation in the aftermath of the first post-conflict elections and in the lead-up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections”.

See full report: http://www.thecommonwealth.org/files/220094/FileName/FINALREPORT-CET2010PrintVersion.pdf

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