This statement is offered by a joint international pre-election delegation organized by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The delegation’s purpose was to accurately and impartially review electoral preparations in advance of Sri Lanka’s upcoming November 16 presidential election, and offer recommendations that could help improve the prospects for transparent, secure and credible elections, as well as public confidence in the process. This statement is also informed by an inclusion assessment conducted in Sri Lanka by NDI’s gender, peace and conflict, and citizen participation experts during the first half of September. The inclusion assessment, which involved meetings with a diverse set of stakeholders in Colombo, Jaffna, and Batticaloa, examined the opportunities for and barriers to participation of women and marginalized communities in the electoral process.
Members of the IRI-NDI delegation included: Ambassador Karl Inderfurth, former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; Kara Bue, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs; Maria Chin Abdullah, Malaysian Member of Parliament; S.Y. Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India; Manpreet Singh Anand, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, NDI; and Scott Mastic, Vice President for Programs, IRI.
From September 30 to October 4, 2019, the delegation met with: party representatives from across the political spectrum; the Election Commission; members of Parliament; government officials; civil society representatives, including leaders of citizen election observer groups; women political activists; representatives of media-related organizations; and representatives of the international and diplomatic communities. IRI and NDI conducted this mission in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and recognize that it is the people of Sri Lanka who will determine the credibility and legitimacy of their elections and their country’s democratic development. The delegation therefore offers this pre-election statement in the spirit of supporting and strengthening democratic institutions and processes in Sri Lanka. The delegation is deeply grateful to all those with whom it met and who shared their views freely.