European Commission to monitor SL presidential poll

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 17:06 GMT]
Following an invitation from the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) the European Commission is sending a European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the presidential election scheduled to take place on November 17th. The EU EOM will be led by Mr.John Cushnahan, member of the European parliament, said a press release of the EU.

This is the fourth EOM deployed to Sri Lanka in the last five years and an additional contribution by the EC to supporting the peace process in Sri Lanka, the release said.

"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 help advance democracy and stability in Sri Lanka", the press release quoted Benita Ferrero-Waldener, Commissioner of External Relations and European Neighborhood as saying.

The press release further said:

"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 the country and are deployed in the 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 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 euros in humanitarian aid and 95 million euros in long-term reconstruction, the Commission is also one of the major donors for reconstruction in the wake of December 2004 tsunami," the release concludes.


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