Friday, May 16, 2008

GIS Political Mapping website from NDI

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) launched a GIS Political Mapping website which is a mapping web utility that facilitates a detailed analysis of voter behaviour over a period of 15 years – 1990-2005. This website allows for the first time in Sri Lanka a comprehensive analysis of elections conducted through maps, charts and tables.

NDI’s programme, the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka has drawn together 18 political parties for dialogue and consensus building at district level, working with party representatives nominated by the party general secretaries in Galle, Matara and Hambantota in the Southern Province and Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee in the Eastern Province. The programmes focus on conflict transformation, anti corruption, local development and the electoral process.

At a media briefing held last week, in the presence of Urban Development Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena and Elections Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake, NDI also presented two publications – one a Glossary of Governance and Political Terms and the other a One-stop Election Guide. Both these publications are trilingual. The glossary, explains clearly a range of terminologies frequently used in governance and politics. The English section is in alphabetical order explaining Absolute Majority, Accessibility, Accountability, and so on, ending with The Winner Takes The One-Stop Election Guide is divided into 13 chapters. The first eight chapters explain voter registration, recognition of political parties, postal votes, presidential election, parliamentary elections, provincial council elections, local authority elections and referendum.

Chapters nine to 13 explain displaced voters, disturbances at polling stations, annulments of poll and re-poll, establishment of the election commission under the 17th Amendment, election observation, and polling agents at polling stations and their role.

The website facilitates which election one wants to analyse and gives the breakdown of votes by parties, district-wise, comparison of votes received by all parties at an election in a district, the voter turn out to votes received by a party at all the elections, comparison of voter turnout in a polling division to average national turnout at all elections and the winning parties at an election in addition to the winning margin from the nearest competitor.

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