British High Commissioner, John Rankin, visited Jaffna on Friday (Jan 02) six days ahead of the presidential elections. The High Commission said that meetings were scheduled with the Jaffna Security Forces Commander, the Jaffna Deputy Inspector General of Police, the Government Agent and the Northern Province Chief Minister regarding the upcoming presidential elections.
Meanwhile the team of nine Commonwealth election observers arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday as well. In a statement released earlier this week, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma stated, “Genuine democratic elections are an expression of sovereignty, which belongs to the people of a country, their free expression will provides the basis for the authority and legitimacy of a government.
“Sri Lanka has among the oldest democratic traditions in the Commonwealth. The people of Sri Lanka should be able to freely exercise their franchise, in an enabling environment marked by transparency, a level playing field, and adherence to the laws and norms that govern a credible and peaceful election. For this, key stakeholders must play their due roles.”
The group of observers include, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo (Chair), Former President of Guyana; Ms Maria Chin Abdullah, from The Coalition of Free and Fair Elections Malaysia; Dr Campbell Gordon Calder, Former Member of Parliament New Zealand; Qamar Zaman Kaira, Former Minister and Member of Parliament Pakistan; Eldred De Klerk Rule of law and elections security expert, South Africa; Dr Sally Kosgei Former Minister and Member of Parliament Kenya; Ms Sa-adatu Maida Election Commissioner, Ghana; Brij Bihari Tandon Former Election Commissioner of India; Ms Lainy Malkani, Media Expert, United Kingdom.