Elections in Sri Lanka
On January 8th 2015 Sri Lanka had its tightest presidential contest in the history of the country. The common candidate from the opposition Mr. Maithreepala Sirisena was elected as a new president. The elections are considered to have been fair and free, very much thanks to efforts from the civil society.
"Democracy has prevailed in Sri Lanka. A few months ago we never could have thought that we would have a change in the leadership" says Frank Stephen who is the country manager of Diakonia in Sri Lanka.
Fight corruption ans reintroduce ‘rule of law’
The grounds on which this presidential elections were contested by the opposition was to abolish the executive presidency and fight corruption and reintroduce the ‘rule of law’.
13,000 observers trained
The elections are considered the most peaceful elections conducted in Sri Lanka for a long time. Diakonia's partners were very much involved in election monitoring and also using media to inform people on using their valued votes in a responsible manner.
The Diakonia partner organization Peoples Action for Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) played a leading role in ensuring free and fair elections. Before the elections PAFFREL trained and deployed around 13,000 election observers, including 35 international observers with the support of Diakonia and a few other donors.
Observers also at the counting centers
PAFFREL coordinated its work with the other national election monitoring bodies to deliver a better service that ensures a free and fair election
PAFFREL was also given permission to deploy 125 observers at the counting centers. This is the first time that observers were allowed at the counting centers.
"Now we look forward to rebuilding this nation and a process of reconciliation with the tamil minority that suffered the brunt of the war, whose votes were fundamental for the outcome of this election," says Frank Stephen.