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Sunday, 26 July 2015

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Police very co-operative - CaFFE

The Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) has been observing and monitoring all elections in Sri Lanka since April 2008 and has deployed its monitors at the grassroots level to monitor next month's Parliamentary elections from the date of nomination.

According to Executive Director, CaFFE, Rajith Keerthi Tennekoon they have deployed more than 150 election observers throughout the country and hope to deploy more than 10,000 observers covering all the electoral districts. "As usual we are covering all aspects of the elections in our monitoring process and election law violations such as violence, abuse of State property," he said.

CaFFE is working with more than 900 organizations throughout the country to make their operations a success.

"Any incident wherever it happens gets reported to Colombo and we will issue press releases, talk to the stakeholders such as the Elections Commissioner, the relevant political parties, candidates and district level election authorities and deal with the incidents on a case by case basis," Tennekoon said.

"We do not get foreign observers as a policy because we have our own experts who have done independent election monitoring over a long period. We have enough resources at national level," he added.

Tennekoon said it is ground realities that matter when monitoring elections. "Local knowledge is the most important factor when it comes to election monitoring and we are far ahead of other organisations and foreign observers for that matter," he said

CaFFE has over 6,500 trained monitors and they have worked with the organisation over the past five years. "They know how to get about monitoring work and how communication has to be done," he added.

He said their organisation is getting the usual cooperation from the Elections Commissioner for its activities and was satisfied with the cooperation extended not only by the Elections Commissioner but also by the various stakeholders such as political parties.

"For the first time, the Police are very cooperative with us. This is very encouraging compared to previous elections," he said.

"This is mainly because there is no pressure from regional level politicians on the regional Police officers," he added.

CaFFE has observed about 21 incidents of election violence and damage to property from the date of nominations so far.

"There was only one major incident in Nivitigala, Ratnapura where Thushara Devalegama died. That was the main incident but there were some other incidents such as the assault incident in Kamburupitiya and one incident in Puttalam," he added.

 

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