Polls monitors at only 300 of 1,115 counting centres
The Elections Commissioner will permit polls monitors to be at only 300 of the 1,115 counting centres for the presidential election.
The decision was conveyed to the election monitors on Friday at a meeting with Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya. Seven election monitoring groups will have to share the 300 slots among them in consultation with the Commissioner, they were told.
The Elections Commissioner told the monitors that in the past there had been no incidents reported from the counting centres and therefore there was no requirement to have polling agents there. The Peoples Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) and the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) will have 30 per cent each of the 300 slots while the Campaign for Free and Elections (CaFFE) will be allowed 21 per cent. The other slots will be shared by the Movement for Free and Fair Elections, Mothers and Daughters of Lanka and the National Polls Observation Centre.
In addition, the monitors will also be allowed to about 70 of the 304 postal vote counting centres. Meanwhile, more than 541,000 voters will cast their ballots on Tuesday and Wednesday when postal voting takes place, officials said.Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed said 85,521 applications for postal voting were rejected as they were not qualified, or had provided false information or submitted their applications after the closing date. The total number who applied for postal voting was 626,953.
The Election monitoring bodies announced yesterday that nearly 3,000 election monitors would monitor the postal voting. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said around 1,000 monitors and 35 mobile teams from PAFFREL would be on monitoring duty. “We have identified some of the sensitive places where we suspect some malpractice could take place. The Sri Lanka Transport Board,Civil Defence Forces, police stations, Divisional Secretary offices and Education Department offices are among those on our list.” he said.
The Post Master General’s Department said 90 per cent of the distribution of polling cards for postal voting had been completed and they hoped to finish it by tomorrow.