The Commonwealth Secretariat has last night released the final report of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Sri Lanka’s 2015 Parliamentary Elections.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma made the observers’ findings public after they were sent to the Government, Commissioner of Elections and political parties following the elections.
Writing in the foreword to the report, the Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former President of Malta Dr George Abela said: “Our overall assessment is that these 2015 Parliamentary elections fulfilled the key benchmarks for a democratic election and that the electoral process was on the whole transparent, peaceful and credible.”
Among the recommendations offered by the Observer Group is a call for measures that make it easier for women to enter politics at the national level and a proposal that Sri Lanka take a “zero-tolerance” approach to election violence. The Group also concluded that the Government should reconsider restrictions on campaigning methods as well as consider legislation on campaign finance.
The report praises Sri Lanka’s Commissioner of Elections and his Office for “having maintained high standards of fairness” and the country’s police for enforcing the law and ensuring a peaceful election.
More than 6,000 candidates from 21 political parties and 200 independent groups contested the 17 August election, which saw 225 members of parliament elected. The United National Party (UNP), which led the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) coalition, increased its vote share and formed a government with the support of some members of the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).
Nine women were elected to Parliament, with just one nominated on the national list, meaning women make up only five percent of the total seats in Parliament.
Just under 200 incidents of election-related violence were reported in the campaign period, including three deaths, grievous assaults, attacks on political party and candidate offices, and abductions, the Commonwealth observers note.
MirakRajBanda / January 21, 2016
Kamlesh might have a missed the need of the hour point- ‘Zero Tolerance’ in ‘Ethnic Violence’ not in bygone election!!!!
Zero tolerance in BBS!
Zero tolerance in Sinhe Le!
Zero tolerance in Corruption!
Zero Tolerance of Rajapakayas!! etc….
Bensen Berner / January 21, 2016
We still do not know how much he this most corrupt Secretary General wants from Sirisena. Bensen
Douglas / January 21, 2016
Mr. Kamalesh Sharma must know how he lost his entire CREDIBILITY in the way he handled the “Impeachment of the Chief Justice” – Mrs.Shirani Bandaranayake during the Presidency of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse. So with that background knowledge and experience, we do not consider you to be any more a “Brainbox” but rather a “Brain Dead”. Well advised to keep out of Sri Lanka matters.
rew / January 21, 2016
A cheat as well
Adrian / January 21, 2016
When citizens are left without necessary rights, zero tolerance talk is bull shit. First trim the unnecessary powers of the parliamentarians and then talk of zero tolerance.
justice / January 21, 2016
Sharma was covering up Rajapakses’ misdeeds and cut a sorry figure.
Legislation on campaign finance will ensure a ‘level playing field’ unlike at present when only those with ‘black money’ are able to contest and bribe/induce voters.
Many contestants – elected and unelected – have not yet declared assets.
The new Secretary General will hopefully ensure British standards of justice.
Plato. / January 21, 2016
Kamalesh Sharma,apparently has now been replaced as Commonwealth Secretary General.I wonder what MaRa gave him as a present to sweep everything under the carpet!
Mallaiyuran / January 21, 2016
Today’s Tamil news say kidnaps in Jaffna is still done with the age old van. A young woman was kidnapped in a van. We know in Colombo they upgraded to Land rover months ago. Where is his zero tolerance going to work?. Tamils will never be treated equal and nobody going to care about this.
Developments and equal rights to Tamils will never come to their hands.
justice / January 22, 2016
Mallaiyuran / January 22, 2016
Did he mean by zero tolerance Brother Prince’s Zero casualty or zero Tamils only will be tolerated.
Chirath / January 22, 2016
What is the Commonwealth other than a mere Relic of the Colonials?, this is just bull crap. Sharma should intervene on behalf of the PEOPLES of the Commonwealth if him and his beloved institution likes to serve the former colonies of Great Britain.
Day by day Cameron is on the run cutting this and that for commonwealth. restricting access to the UK for commonwealth citizens, prioritising EU students over commonwealth students, cutting and scraping all benefits for commonwealth citizens and continuously discriminating citizens of the commonwealth. MR Sharma should intervene in those and stop focusing on country specific neo-colonial propaganda.
anotherbuddist / January 23, 2016
Love the photo of the collection of brown nosing, ‘god save the queen’ servants of a bygone era trying to bring back the old glory days of the British Raj.And they are in the best place for this- I bet non of you knew that Sri Lanka or ‘Ceylon’ as those types still like to refer to our nation was constructed as a model of ‘independence’/ post colonial out post for British powers to control.Did you? Do not think so!!!
iemerald / January 23, 2016
WHY DO THESE PEOPLE COME OUT WITH THE OBVIOUS.
DO THEY THINK THAT WE THE PUBLIC ARE STUPID OR SOMETHING. ZERO TOLERANCE MY ASS.