Commonwealth Election Reports

2310-1512 (online)
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Commonwealth Election Reports, the reports of Commonwealth Observer Groups, Missions or Expert Teams, are independently prepared by the team members as a contribution to the democracy and consensus-building in Commonwealth countries.
Sri Lanka's Northern Provincial Council Elections, 21 September 2013

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Commonwealth Observer Mission
22 Jan 2014
9781848599055 (PDF)

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The report of the Commonwealth Observer Mission for Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council Elections, held 21 September 2013. The Mission was led by Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Former Vice President of Kenya, and was comprised of 4 eminent persons.

The Commonwealth Observer Mission found the conduct of election day itself to be impressive. The Mission expressed concerns about the pre-electoral environment and called for the establishment of an independent electoral commission.

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  • Letter of Transmittal

    Following your invitation to observe the 21 September 2013 Northern Provincial Council elections in Sri Lanka, we have now completed our Final Report and are pleased to submit it to you with this letter.

  • Introduction

    The Commonwealth Observer Mission to the 2013 Northern Provincial Council elections in Sri Lanka was led by His Excellency Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, former Vice President of the Republic of Kenya, and comprised four eminent persons in total. A three-person staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat supported the Observer Mission. Biographical details of each of the members of the Mission is at Annex 1.

  • Political Background

    The United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is the ruling coalition in Sri Lanka. At the helm of the UPFA is the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which is the single largest party in Parliament. The head of the UPFA and SLFP is President Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Rajapaksa was first elected to the Presidency in 2005, and was re-elected in 2010. It was under the leadership of President Rajapaksa that Sri Lanka decisively ended its civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009.

  • The Electoral Framework and Election Administration
  • Election Campaign and Media Environment

    The election campaign in the Northern Province appeared to have been conducted in a compromised and subdued environment. This seemed, to the Mission, to be attributed in large part to the presence and influence of the military in the province. A background to military presence in the province is given in Chapter 2.

  • Voting, Counting and Results

    The Northern Province consists of five districts with a total of 714,488 voters who elected 36 council members.

  • Conclusions and Recommendations

    The 21 September 2013 elections were landmark elections, the first Northern Provincial Council elections held since the end of the civil conflict in May 2009, and since the Provincial Council system was established. We are conscious that the Northern Province is emerging from nearly three decades of civil conflict which claimed many thousands of lives and resulted in widespread damage to infrastructure, livelihoods and displacement of the population.

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