Sri Lanka is a country with over 80 years of universal adult franchise and a healthy democratic electoral tradition. In fact this country has been enjoying democratic voting rights many decades before Mr Ban-Ki-moon’s country.
The UN Secretary General, who has not asked governments or leaders of many countries with questionable claim to democracy to conduct credible elections, is preaching to Sri Lanka, a vibrant democracy on how to conduct elections.
He has given unsubstantiated figures of alleged ‘350 violent attacks against Muslims and over 150 attacks against Christians in the last two years’. The current election campaign commenced six weeks ago, and we challenge UNSG to show us if there had been even single attack on Muslims or Christians in this period of campaigning.
Reportedly, Mr Ban-Ki-moon, in a telephone conversation with Minister of External Affairs Prof G L Peiris, ‘noted the importance of inclusive participation of all Sri Lankan voters, including minority communities, in the election process without any fear.’
The UPFA wishes to point out to UNSG that earlier this week, the Parliamentarians of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) resigned from the government and extended support to an opposition candidate. Today (December 30), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) openly stated its support for an opposition candidate. There have also been many other political crossovers during this campaign, which has not given cause for concerns about a peaceful election. These happened in most peaceful democratic traditions that Sri Lanka has enjoyed for several decades. Mr Ban-Ki-moon should have verified the facts from the minority community leaders before urging for an ‘election process without any fear’.
Since the end of the conflict in 2009, Sri Lanka conducted several elections -Presidential, Parliamentary and local government - including Provincial Council elections for the North after a lapse of several decades in the most peaceful and credible manner. Under these circumstances, the UNSG’s statement is nothing but a blatant interference in the internal affairs of this country.