EU monitors will not be present at Sri Lanka's upcoming presidential election, after their inclusion was rejected by four presidential candidates, reports the Sunday Leader.
The paper quoted the election commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya, as saying that "he can only invite election monitors from the unions or forums only if the Department of Election or the country holds memberships of those unions."
“Four presidential candidates disagreed to invite the election monitors from the EU. Therefore, we will not be able to call upon the election monitors from the EU,” he reportedly added.
Last week, local election monitoring groups - The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), the Campaign for Free and Elections (CaFFE), Movement for Free and Fair Elections (MFFE), Mothers and Daughters of Lanka (MDL) and the National Polls Observation Centre (NPOC) - called candidates to ensure the elections took place free off violence.
“Sri Lanka is presently in the midst of its seventh presidential election. As election observers, whose primary objective is to ensure a free and fair environment for elections, we are concerned about the prevailing conditions. It is a right of the people to be able to choose a candidate of their choice within the framework of a free and fair contest,” the groups said in a joint statement.
Great risk of violence over presidential elections – ICG (09 Dec 2014)
US warns citizens of election violence in Sri Lanka (09 Dec 2014)
UK warns travellers of Sri Lankan electoral violence (03 Dec 2014)