The Commonwealth Observer Mission’s mandate is to observe and consider all aspects of the electoral process and assess compliance with the standards for democratic elections to which Sri Lanka has committed itself. Where appropriate, the mission may also make recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework.Commonwealth observer missions act impartially and independently and conduct themselves according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory. “These are landmark elections in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province,” the Secretary-General said. “It is my hope that they will proceed peacefully and be held on a level playing field, in an environment where the electors can freely exercise their franchise,” Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said. The Commonwealth Secretary-General constituted the mission at the invitation of Sri Lanka’s Commissioner of Elections, the Commonwealth Secretariat said. Former Kenyan Vice President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka will head a Commonwealth election observer mission for the Northern Provincial Council Elections.Others in the observer team will be the former Electoral Officer for Victoria, Australia Jenni McMullan, former Chief Election Commissioner of Bangladesh Dr Shamsul Huda and Examin Philbert the Secretary of the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities Saint Luci. The mission will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Sri Lanka, the Office of the Commissioner of Elections, relevant Sri Lankan political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.The four-member mission will be in Sri Lanka from the 14 to 28 September and be based mainly in Jaffna. A three-person team deployed from the Commonwealth Secretariat will support the mission. Martin Kasirye, Head of the Democracy Section of the Secretariat’s Political Affairs Division, will lead the support team.  (Colombo Gazette)

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