A final report by the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) says Sri Lanka's 2019 presidential election was well-managed and transparent but urges greater inclusivity in future.
There were fewer reported incidents of violence than in the 2015 presidential election - according to the findings of the COG.
The report commended the counting and tabulation process. It says counting procedures were followed meticulously, with candidates, party agents, and citizen and international observers afforded a clear view of the entire process.
However, the report expressed concern about antagonistic rhetoric, disinformation and hate speech, prevalent on social media platforms, with civil society organisations noting a rise in inflammatory language, particularly towards Sri Lanka’s minority. There were reports of gender-based violence, harassment and abuse of women politicians, including on social media platforms.
The report also noted that certain groups experienced fear and intimidation.
The Group, deployed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General was led by Prosper Bani, former Ghanaian Minister of Interior, and included 10 eminent persons, supported by a six-person team from the Commonwealth.
The COG stressed that a credible election must be inclusive, guaranteeing every citizen’s right to participate freely and safely and encouraged the people and leaders of Sri Lanka to improve inclusivity in future elections.