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Election monitors gear for polls work: Focus on PPEs and health guidelines 

By Skandha Gunasekara

Election monitoring organisations are gearing up for the upcoming general election, including the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Media Spokesman Manjula Basnayake said they would provide all the health and safety equipment to their officials. 

“We have taken steps to provide personal protective gear as well as health insurance to all our officials,” Basnayake said.

He also said that they had entered into an agreement alongside regional election watchdog groups to follow all Covid-19 health guidelines.

“We and other election monitoring groups joined with the Asian Network for Free Elections and pledged to follow all Covid-19 guidelines in our work,” he said. 

People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said that they too would be following the guidelines of the Election Commission (EC) as well as the health service.

“We will be providing all our officials with the necessary PPEs. We will also be issuing a booklet that will have our own guidelines relating to the election under pandemic conditions,” PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said.

He went on to say that some 5,000-odd monitors would have to be especially trained with regard to the new guidelines.

“We will have to carry out training programmes. These programmes too will have to be carried out in accordance with health guidelines. It will be costly, but we will do everything we can to safeguard our officials. Some will be conducted via online platforms such as Zoom,” Hettiarachchi said. 

Meanwhile, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) too said they would be providing their monitors with PPEs.

“We will not be asking  the EC to give the safety equipment. We will provide it ourselves. All our monitors must follow the health guidelines of the Health Ministry,” CaFFE Executive Director Manas Makeen told The Morning.