2020 Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections: Defending Democracy Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) released its assessment report of the 2020 Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections providing insights on the conduct of elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 16,263,885 eligible voters were invited to cast their votes on 5 August 2020 for the parliamentary elections organized with certain restrictions in place to curb the further spread of the new coronavirus.

ANFREL said that defending democracy while fighting COVID-19 largely depended on the specifics of each unique national situation and offered the good practices and successes (or failures) of the Sri Lankan experience as a resource for election stakeholders in other countries to learn from.

ANFREL also hoped that election stakeholders could implement comprehensive and effective strategies tailored to fit their own needs based on the learnings from the Sri Lanka experience. ANFREL published the assessment report as a resource for other countries scheduled to hold elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

ANFREL implemented a new hybrid methodology with election experts conducting remote interviews with election stakeholders and extensive desk research and online monitoring of the campaign period.

The travel restrictions in place prevented ANFREL from deploying a full-fledged international election observation mission and instead selected and trained six foreign expatriates living in Sri Lanka to visit polling stations and counting centers and collect data on the conduct of the elections on the ground.

ANFREL, recognizing how the COVID-19 pandemic placed additional strain on international election observers and other human rights defenders, called for vigilance and to ensure fundamental freedoms are upheld, democracy remains in place, and divisiveness does not triumph.

Download the full report: The 2020 Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections: Defending Democracy Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sri Lanka Report 2020-FINAL-ol

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