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Summary: EU to deploy Election Observation Mission to Sri Lanka for Presidential Election (26 October 2005: Brussels)
The European Commission is deploying an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the presidential election scheduled to take place on 17 November following an invitation from the Government of Sri Lanka. The EU EOM will be led by John Cushnahan, former Member of the European Parliament. This is the fourth EU EOM deployed to Sri Lanka in the last five years and an additional contribution by the European Commission to supporting the peace process in Sri Lanka.
Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Benita Ferrero-Waldner stated: “It is crucial for the peace process in Sri Lanka that the forthcoming elections are seen as credible by all communities. Our presence with long- and short-term observers will contribute to this goal. As a Co-Chair of the peace process and a major partner in tsunami and conflict reconstruction, it is essential in my understanding that the EU can further help advance democracy and stability in Sri Lanka.”
The core team of 6 election experts has just arrived in Colombo. Twenty-two long-term observers will follow in a week’s time and be deployed to the provincial level to follow the campaign period and pre-election preparations. Another 44 short-term observers shall arrive around election day to observe voting, counting and the tabulation of results. In total the mission should comprise 72 experts and the chief observer.
The mission will issue a preliminary statement shortly after election day and a detailed final report a few weeks after the entire election process has been concluded, which will include recommendations for improving the election process.
Individual Election Observation Missions are an important instrument for building confidence in the democratic processes of a country and are deployed in line with the EU’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and respect for the rule of law. Through their presence and reporting, EU election observers increase the transparency of the election process.
The EU has gained a reputation as a major, professional actor in the field of election observation, deploying missions that are impartial and comprehensively assess all aspects of the election process in line with international standards for democratic elections.
The EU is one of the four Co-Chairs of the peace process in Sri Lanka and one of the major donors for development and reconstruction of the conflict-affected areas in the North and East. With €35 million in humanitarian aid and €95 million in long-term reconstruction, the Commission is also one of the major donors for reconstruction in the wake of the December 2004 tsunami.
Sri Lanka’s executive President is elected through direct elections for a six-year term and granted extensive powers by the Constitution.
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