'No foreign monitors for general elections'
By Olindhi Jayasundere
Mar 19, 2010
The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) yesterday said there had been no response from the Elections Commissioner on the Election Monitors’ proposal to appoint election observers for the counting centres at the General Election.

PAFFREL Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi said the election monitor had sent letters to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake and had even brought up the matter on several instances but he had still not responded to PAFFREL’s request.

“I spoke to the Election’s Commissioner yesterday. We discussed several matters but he did not touch on the matter relating to the observers at counting centers,” he said.

Mr. Hettiarachchi said he felt that there was a necessity to appoint observers in the counting centers due to the great amount of debate relating to the counting of votes that took place after the recent Presidential election.

“Other officials at the Elections department have told me that our proposal will not be accepted. However we still have not received an official reply from the Elections Commissioner himself,” he said.

He said that PAFFREL had proposed foreign observers to be appointed to maintain impartiality, but said there was no response to that either. “During the early days of the General Election the Elections Commissioner said that foreign observers would be appointed if a request was made by any of the political parties,” he said.

He said the UNP recently requested for foreign observers to be made available at the upcoming election but it was still uncertain as to whether the Elections Commissioner would appoint any at this point in time.

“If election observers are to be appointed it must be done immediately. There is no point in having election observers only on the day of the election because it serves no purpose. They must be there at least during the pre-election period and on the election day,” he said.

Courtesy: Daily Mirror