Deputy Chief Observer Dimitra Ioannou told reporters at a media briefing held at Hilton Hotel yesterday that the EU team would remain in the country for the next two months for election monitoring, adding that they are completely independent and all monitoring will be carried out in accordance with proper norms.
She emphasized that this team will not get involved in any election activities during their engagement.
She noted that the EU election operation had been officially initiated in Sri Lanka and this is the sixth EU election monitoring exercise.
“The EU election monitoring team is here to observe the November 16th presidential election based on an invitation by the Election Commission. This is the sixth election monitoring engagement of the EU, while we also engaged in election monitoring in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2015. As on previous occasions, we are here on the invitation of the Election Commission. We do not engage in election monitoring without such an invitation.
So far the EU has conducted around 150 election monitoring engagements world wide. We conduct these activities based on the principles of the 2005 UN endorsed international election monitoring guidelines. All EU EOM observers are bound by a code of conduct, which requires strict neutrality, independence and non-interference. The EU EOM undertakes its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, she said.
She assured that the EU observers are totally independent and unbiased and will conduct all activities from an independent standpoint. She also noted that they would not get involved in the election process in any manner.
The main purpose of this election monitoring team is to provide long-term broad technical evaluation regarding the election process in accordance with Sri Lanka’s commitment to the numerous human rights obligations. This team will consider the national legal requirements and whether Sri Lanka follows accepted international procedures.
This team will take into consideration the legal framework and implementation, the propaganda activities of the political parties and candidates, state institutions and civil society activities, main TV and broadcast as well as social media, newspapers and media monitoring to determine their independence and impartiality. They will also look into the general election environment, election complaints before and after the elections and appeals.
The EU team is headed by Marisa Matias, a member of European Parliament, and the EU team which arrived in the country on October 11th is deploying observers in the 25 administrative districts of the country giving a wider coverage than previously. It will carry out a comprehensive assessment on the legal framework, electoral administration, voter registration, campaigning, the conduct of the media, voting, counting and tallying and the transmission of results. They are expected to remain in the country for a certain period even after the election.