Sept 19, Colombo: Members of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to the 2013 Northern Provincial Council Elections in Sri Lanka will observe the voting, counting and results process as well as the conclusion of the campaigning.
Releasing an arrival statement, the head of the team, former Vice President of Kenya Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka said the team had already met with political parties, the Elections Commissioner, domestic observers and international partners in Colombo.
Over the next few days the Commonwealth observers will meet with relevant stakeholders in the Northern Province, including party representatives, civil society and the media.
Musyoka said the team will then deploy across the Province to observe the conclusion of the campaigning and thereafter the voting, counting and results process.
The mission comprises Former Electoral Officer for Victoria, Australia Ms. Jenni McMullan, Former Chief Election Commissioner of Bangladesh Dr. Shamsul Huda and the Secretary of the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities in, St. Lucia Ms. Examin Philbert.
Our task is to consider all the factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole, and to assess whether the election is conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Sri Lanka has committed itself, with reference to its own election legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and other international commitments.
The head of the team said in his statement that their task is to consider all the factors "impinging on the credibility of the electoral process" as a whole.
They will also assess whether the election is conducted according to the standards for democratic elections, to which Sri Lanka has committed itself, with reference to its own election legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and other international commitments.
The team, among other things, will consider whether conditions exist for free and competitive elections; whether the Elections Commission is independent and effective; the transparency of the process; whether candidates have been free to campaign; what role the media has played; whether voters have been free to express their will; and whether the results process is transparent.
Musyoka said when conducting their duties and undertaking their assessment they will be neutral, impartial, objective and independent.
He said the assessment by the Mission will be its own and not that of any member government.
"Our intent is to offer constructive support to help strengthen the democratic process in the future," he said.
The observers will issue an Interim Statement after the election and a final report thereafter.