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Sri Lanka to invite foreign observers for parliamentary polls

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Colombo, June 27 (IANS) Sri Lanka will invite foreign observers for the parliamentary elections due to take place on August 17, election monitors said on Saturday.

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said they are going to invite at least 50 foreign observers to monitor the elections which will produce a new Sri Lankan parliament.

“The upcoming elections will be competitive as we will be seeing some major political parties contesting. With foreign observers, there will be a certain level of control on election day,” PAFFREL executive director Rohana Hettiarachchi told Xinhua.

Election observers from the Asian Network for Free Elections in Thailand and observers from the European Union and Commonwealth will be invited to monitor the polls, Hettiarachchi said.

Well informed sources said that discussions are also likely to be held with the National Democratic Institute and other US organisations to invite US observers.

During presidential elections held in the island nation in January, both local monitors and the election department invited foreign monitors including those from the Commonwealth and the European Union to observe the process.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday, months after taking office in January this year.

Political parties including the ruling United National Party ( UNP) had been calling on Sirisena in recent weeks to dissolve parliament, stating that the government’s 100-day mandate which began on January 8 has expired.

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