UK’s Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has welcomed the provincial elections last Saturday but called for an investigation into the reports of intimidation and abuse of state resources in the electoral process.
Issuing a statement Burt said polls have been described as largely peaceful by Commonwealth and domestic observer missions, with high turnout across all three provinces. “This demonstrates the desire of the Sri Lankan people to engage in this democratic process which ensures all provinces now have a council for the first time since the end of the military conflict,” he said.
“I call on the Sri Lankan government and parties who won provincial seats to work together to contribute meaningfully to effective and inclusive regional governance in Sri Lanka,” Minister Burt said.
He said the lasting reconciliation all Sri Lankans deserve cannot be delivered by these polls alone, but the elections remain an important step in recognising the rights and aspirations of all citizens.
Burt also welcomed the access granted to local and international polls observers and the overall conduct of polling day. “However, I note with concern the credible reports of the misuse of state resources for campaigning, incidents of intimidation, and violence in the run-up to elections. I call on the authorities to investigate these serious allegations and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” the UK Minister said.