Foreign monitors’ presence a damning indictment: Sri Lankan daily

Colombo, Aug 18 (IANS) The presence of foreign election monitors is “a damning indictment on all those who have ruled this country during the last few decades”, said a Sri Lankan daily on Tuesday, a day after general elections were held in the country.

The Island in an editorial “After the polls…” said that general election ended peacefully.

“…the wheeling and dealing will continue for some time with the winning party going all out to muster more numbers to keep itself on an even keel. There will be bitter intra-party disputes and even defections. It will be days, if not weeks, before the UPFA (United People’s Freedom Alliance) sorts out its problems,” it added.

Monday’s polls saw a keen contest between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe led United National Front (UNF) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) which has former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as its main candidate.

The daily said: “We must be ashamed as a nation that we cannot conduct an election without foreign monitors though nearly seven decades have elapsed since Independence. Those men and women deserve to be thanked profusely for having taken the trouble of having come all the way here to monitor polls and issuing reports which are useful in assessing our performance as a democracy.

“But, their presence is a damning indictment on all those who have ruled this country during the last few decades.”

It went on to say that one of the top priorities of the new government will be to “appoint the Constitutional Council and ensure that the independent commissions will be fully functional”.

“Steps must be taken to prevent political interference with the electoral process even under a strong government,” the daily added.

The editorial called for “robust institutional safeguards”.

“Clean, scheduled elections are, among other things, the hallmarks of an advanced democracy. This is something Sri Lanka should strive to achieve if it is to command the respect of the global community.”

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