"Following an invitation from the Sri Lanka authorities, the European Union has started the deployment of an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Sri Lanka to observe the Parliamentary Elections scheduled for August 17, 2015," the 28-member European Union said in a statement.
Cristian Preda, Member of the European Parliament, will lead the EOM as Chief Observer. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs, said, "the European Union has once again responded positively to the invitation of the Sri Lankan authorities to deploy an Election Observation Mission. This shows our continued commitment to work with Sri Lanka to strengthen democracy by advancing the openness and inclusivity of the election process."
Preda is expected to arrive in Colombo in the coming days to join the core team of eight election experts who arrived here yesterday.
"Our mandate is to observe the elections without interfering in the electoral process, contributing to transparency while respecting local laws and regulations," Preda said. The EU Election Observation Mission will consist of the core team, 18 long-term observers, who will be deployed in all the 22 electoral districts and 28 short term observers deployed just before the election day.
The EOM will closely follow the electoral process and make its assessment on the basis of Sri Lankan legislation, as well as regional and international commitments. This analysis will take into account aspects such as the legal framework, the performance of the election administration, political campaign activities, respect for fundamental freedoms, conduct of the media, the voting, counting and tabulation of results.
Attention will also be given to the complaints and appeals phase. The EU Election Observation Mission adheres to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation which ensures the mission's independence and integrity. Over 15 million voters are eligible to vote in the polls to elect a 225-member assembly for five years.