Commonwealth group begins observation of Sri Lankan presidential election

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG), a group deployed by the Commonwealth to observe the presidential election in Sri Lanka, has commenced their work.

The group arrived in Sri Lanka on the 10th November at the request of the Election Commission will be in Colombo until 22 November.

Prosper Bani, Former Minister of Interior, Ghana leads the COG which consists of members drawn from various Commonwealth regions, with backgrounds ranging from the political, electoral, civil society and human rights as well as legal fields.

The COG will receive briefings from relevant stakeholders including election management officials, representatives of political parties, civil society groups, the police, members of the international community and citizen and international observers.

In a statement, Chair of the COG Prosper Bani said the group’s mandate is to observe and evaluate the pre-election environment, polling day as well as the post-election period.

“We will consider the various factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole, and report on whether it has been conducted according to the national, regional, Commonwealth and international standards to which Sri Lanka has committed itself.”

As independent observers, the group will remain objective and impartial in discharging these duties, he said. The Group�s assessment will be its own and not that of any Commonwealth member country.

On Thursday, the observers will be deployed to various provinces across the country to observe preparations ahead of polling day.

Subsequently, they will observe the opening of polls, voting, counting and the management of results from election day until their departure from Sri Lanka on 22nd November.

The COG will issue an Interim Statement of its preliminary findings shortly after 16 November. The final report will be submitted to the Secretary-General and made available to the public afterwards.

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