The plan seemed such a simple one. Mahinda Rajapaksa called an election in November expecting to breeze past a shambolic, divided opposition and take an unprecedented third term as Sri Lanka’s president. The poll, on January 8th, would be two years earlier than necessary. It would also be the first after a constitutional amendment in 2010 that abolished a two-term limit for presidents. Everything had appeared set for Mr Rajapaksa to remain in power. Now his prospects look far less certain. The campaign has been marked by a series of defections by former allies who call him authoritarian and nepotistic (among relatives in important political jobs are a brother, Basil, who is in charge of running the economy; another brother, Gotabaya, who is defence secretary and a third, Chamal, who is parliamentary Speaker). Most striking was the exit of Maithripala Sirisena. He was both health minister in Mr Rajapaksa’s cabinet and general secretary of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). On November 21st he became the main opposition candidate. The president complains bitterly that Mr Sirisena dined with him only the night before.Full Article: Elections in Sri Lanka: Down to the wire | The Economist.
Articles about voting issues in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka: Government uses violence to deter opposition activities, election monitor charges | Colombo Page
A Sri Lankan election watchdog charges that the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government is using violence to deter opposition political activities. Election monitor Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) says that in parallel to electoral level campaigning by the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena there is an increase in UPFA propagated election violence. The election monitor observes that this trend is reaching systematic proportions and slowly turning into a wave of political violence. Up to December 31st CaFFE has received 1007 incidents of election law violations and election violence and 105 of them are election violence which includes 19 incidents of firearms usage. The CaFFE has noted that the government has unleashed a systematic campaign of intimidation to intimidate opposition supporters. When Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena holds a rally, election related violence spikes in the related area targeting opposition activists and infrastructure, the monitor observes.Full Article: Sri Lanka : Sri Lankan government uses violence to deter opposition activities, election monitor charges.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has conveyed his “strong expectation” that the Government of Sri Lanka will ensure “the peaceful and credible conduct” of its upcoming Presidential election. The Secretary-General spoke on the phone with Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs Prof. GL Peiris on 24 December and reaffirmed the UN’s continuous support for reconciliation, political dialogue and accountability as the country heads towards the election on 8 January 2015.Full Article: Sri Lanka : UN chief calls for \'peaceful and credible\' election in Sri Lanka.
In the days after Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, was betrayed by a group of his longtime aides, comparisons were made to Judas Iscariot and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but nothing expressed the depth of the president’s hurt and bewilderment like the fact that the desertion had occurred just after a shared meal of hoppers. As he watched his old allies begin to stage an unexpected campaign last month to block his re-election, Mr. Rajapaksa could not help but dwell bitterly on the hoppers, pancakes made of fermented rice flour that are one of Sri Lanka’s most beloved comfort foods. He praised his new health minister, who replaced the most prominent defector, by saying he was not “someone who eats hoppers in the night and then stabs you in the back in the morning.” Mr. Rajapaksa is a famously sure-footed campaigner, so confident that he scheduled elections for Jan. 8, two years before the end of his second term. But the defections caught him unaware, and he is so jittery that he has begun promising concessions — like constitutional reforms and an investigation into possible war crimes committed during the government’s campaign against northern separatists — should he win a third six-year term.Full Article: For Sri Lankan President, Renounced by Aides, Confidence of Re-election Dims - NYTimes.com.
The Sri Lankan government is facing calls from both home and abroad to establish an independent electoral commission. In the wake of a Commonwealth report on elections in northern Sri Lanka, leading opposition parties joined a call by Commonwealth election observers for the island-nation to create such an impartial body. Opposition leaders say the government should re-instate the Sri Lankan constitution’s 17th Amendment, which provides for an independent electoral commission. Under the current 18th Amendment, President Mahinda Rajapaksa can appoint a commissioner of his choice, as well as to other positions such as chief justice. “Our party has repeatedly supported the 17th Amendment to the constitution, which makes way for the setting up of a number of independent commissions for elections, police, human rights, judicial services and bribery and corruption,” said R. Sampanthan, leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) party, whose candidate, C. V. Wigneswaran, swept the northern provincial council elections.Full Article: Sri Lanka opposition calls for independent electoral commission - khabarsouthasia.com.
The Sri Lankan government has taken measures to introduce an electronic voting system to the country, a government minister revealed. Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has told parliament that the government has taken immediate measures to formulate the relevant legal amendments to introduce electronic voting.Full Article: Sri Lanka : Sri Lanka to introduce electronic voting.
Sri Lanka is planning to amend its elections law so as to enable electronic voting, according to China’s Xinhua news agency citing Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya on Monday. Speaking to media, the official said said that the government is considering to amend the current election law so that it would be possible to initiate electronic voting instead of the laborious hand counting system that is in practice now. “Large amounts of public money are spent on elections as they are done manually with the entire process needing many people and resources,” said Deshapriya.
Elections Commissioner of Sri Lanka Mahinda Deshapriya says that en electronic voting system needs to be introduced to the country. Speaking during a workshop at the BMICH, Deshapriya has observed that a large sum of money and human resources had to be invested under the current voting system. He has called on all political parties to make the necessary amendments to the Elections Act in order to enable the introduction of an electronic voting system.Full Article: Sri Lanka : Sri Lanka Elections Commissioner suggests introducing an electronic voting system.
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Election Commissioner to hold discussions on electronic voting system | ColomboPage
The Elections Commissioner’s Department of Sri Lanka is to hold a series of discussions and seminars at district level to discuss and receive proposals on the introduction of an electronic voting system for the country.
Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has decided to hold the series of discussions in three stages.
Fanning the flame of speculation regarding an electronic voting system for Sri Lankans, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga publicly stated last week that the Government planned to introduce such a system in a bid to promote “democratic engagement” among citizens.
Making this comment as the keynote speaker at a recent event on electronic governance, the two-day FutureGov Forum Sri Lanka 2011, which was held in Colombo; he also asserted that the “whole idea of expediting government processes is to save time of citizens.
It also saves time for the public servant. The additional time available for citizens can be therefore spent productively – to engage with family members, community and voluntary work and more importantly, to live a contented life, the dream of every human being.”Full Article: Plans to introduce electronic voting in SL : Presidential Secretary.
Sri Lanka: Additional officials to vulnerable stations – plans for electronic voting in Sri Lanka | DailyMirror.lk
The Elections Commissioner said yesterday that measures had been taken to deploy an additional number of officials to vulnerable polling stations located in areas where a high number of complaints concerning election violence had been reported.
Speaking at a media briefing held at the Elections Department yesterday, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that polling stations located in Kaduwela, Warakapola, Minuwangoda, Attanagalle, Wilgamuwa and Chilaw would receive special attention, and the presence of Elections Department officials in those places would be increased.Full Article: LG polls: Additional officials to vulnerable stations | Front Page.