Responding to the European Union’s call for a peaceful environment ahead of presidential polls, the Sri Lankan Government today expressed ‘surprise’ over the statement while emphasizing that domestic elections are not for foreign government representatives to be prescriptive about.
Issuing a joint statement yesterday, European Union Heads of Mission in Colombo noted the importance of Sri Lanka’s Presidential election process being peaceful, credible and transparent.
“Heads of Mission recall the EU’s longstanding conviction that a peaceful environment is essential for credible elections.”
“Sri Lankan citizens must be free to choose their leaders without violence or fear. All parties have a role in upholding Sri Lanka’s strong democratic tradition,” it said.
However, the Sri Lankan Government has reacted strongly by pointing out that the island nation has a vibrant tradition of democratic practice since 1931 and has been conducting elections at regular intervals, “in a peaceful and orderly manner, while the electorate has continued to cast their vote freely, in large numbers.”
“Domestic elections are not for foreign government representatives to be prescriptive about, that too, a few days ahead of the polls. It is therefore surprising that the EU Heads of Mission in Colombo should have resorted to a press statement on an issue of a strictly domestic nature.”
“Such an initiative could bring into question the bona-fides and objectivity of their intervention,” the Ministry of External Affairs said, responding with a statement.
It said that the Elections Commissioner, who is an independent authority, has been mandated by the statutory powers vested in him, with the task of conducting free and fair elections.