London: The keenly-contested Presidential polls in Sri Lanka did not "fully meet" key benchmarks for democratic elections and the arrest of Opposition candidate Gen Sarath Fonseka has increased tension in the country, according to a Commonwealth report.
"Even though on the day of the election voters were free to express their will, shortcomings primarily in the pre-election period meant that overall the 2010 Presidential
elections in Sri Lanka did not fully meet key benchmarks for democratic elections," Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said.
He was speaking after releasing the final report of the Commonwealth Expert Team which observed the January 26 Presidential election in Sri Lanka. "Many of the problems identified reflect the same problems identified during previous elections. These problems - which have also been highlighted by the country`s own Commissioner of Elections - will hopefully receive urgent consideration," he said, adding that the Commonwealth was
ready to assist.
Referring to post-election developments in Sri Lanka, especially the arrest of former Army Chief and opposition candidate Gen Fonseka, Sharma said "these developments have increased tension. It is important that the rule of law and due process are applied."