EU Election Observation Mission chief visits Sri Lanka
[TamilNet, Monday, 06 March 2006, 06:33 GMT]
John Cushnahan, the chief of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Sri Lanka will arrive in Colombo on Monday to present the full and final report on the 2005 Presidential election. A press release issued by the EU organisation said "the report will make a number of major recommendations for strengthening the electoral process in Sri Lanka." Mr. Cushnahan will meet President Mahinda Rajapakse, the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the leaders of Sri Lanka’s other main political parties.
Follwing is the full text of the press release :EU CHIEF ELECTION OBSERVER PRESENTS HIS FINAL REPORT ON THE 2005 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Chief Observer John Cushnahan returns to Sri Lanka today to present the final report of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission which observed the 2005 Presidential election.
Chief Observer John Cushnahan led the EU Election Observation Missions to Sri Lanka in 2000, 2001 and 2004. He returned in late 2005 as Chief Observer to lead the 80 member EU Team (from twenty one EU Member states) to observe the 2005 Presidential elections. The Chief Observer delivered his Preliminary Statement immediately after the elections in November 2005. He is returning to Sri Lanka now to present the full and final report of the Election Observation Mission. He will be accompanied by the Legal/Election expert from his team – Ms. Idoia Aranceta from Spain.
Mr. Cushnahan will meet President Mahinda Rajapakse, the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the leaders of Sri Lanka’s other main political parties. The EU Chief Observer is also scheduled to meet Election Commissioner Mr. Dayananda Dissanayake and representatives of civil society. At these meetings, he will formally present copies of the Final Report on the 2005 Presidential election based on what his 80 strong observer team witnessed during its two month mission. The report will make a number of major recommendations for strengthening the electoral process in Sri Lanka.
Before his departure to Sri Lanka, Chief Observer Cushnahan said:
“My formal programme with Sri Lanka’s political parties begins tomorrow morning (Tuesday March 7) when I will have a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse. At the heart of the discussions with political leaders will be the Final Report of the European Union Election Observation Mission and especially the recommendations that it contains. These suggestions are put forward in an attempt to improve the electoral process based on our experiences in observing not only last year’s Presidential Election but also the 2000, 2001 and 2004 Parliamentary Elections.
“I am also here to listen and learn. I want to hear the views and ideas of politicians, election officials, civil society representatives and other stakeholders as to how we can work together in the future to protect and strengthen Sri Lanka’s long tradition of democracy .”
List of key meetings;
H.E. President Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse, Hon. Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe, Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Dayananda Dissanayake, Election Commissioner, Hon. Mr. Vijitha Herath, JVP, Hon. Mr. Rauf Hakeem, Leader of SLMC, Hon. Mr. R Sampanthan, TNA, Mr. V.Anandasangaree, TULF, Representatives of JHU.