COLOMBO: The EU today asked Sri Lanka to ensure that the presidential elections are "peaceful, credible and transparent", drawing strong criticism from the government which warned the 28-member bloc not to be "prescriptive" about next week's polls.
The EU called for all parties in Sri Lanka to uphold the democratic tradition and create an environment to hold elections peacefully.
The European Union Heads of Mission in Colombo noted the importance of Sri Lanka's Presidential election process being peaceful, credible and transparent.
"Sri Lankan citizens must be free to choose their leaders without violence or fear. All parties have a role in upholding Sri Lanka's strong democratic tradition," the statement said.
The statement by EU came a day after the opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena told foreign envoys that he feared the government may deploy troops to block minority Tamils voting against President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
However, the Ministry of External Affairs asked the EU envoys not to be "prescriptive" about next week's polls.
"Domestic elections are not for foreign government representatives to be prescriptive about, that too, a few days ahead of the polls. It is therefore surprising that the EU Heads of Mission in Colombo should have resorted to a press statement on an issue of a strictly domestic nature," a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said.
"Such an initiative could bring into question the bona-fides and objectivity of their intervention", it said.
Just after the statement by EU was released, an opposition rally at Pelmadulla in the southwestern district of Ratnapura came under attack.
Suspected government supporters stoned the rally attended by Sirisena. He was evacuated to safety.
The presidential election will take place on January 8 as Rajapaksa called the election two years ahead of schedule in an apparent attempt to seek fresh mandate before his party's popularity tumbles further, after dropping over 21 per cent in September local elections.
Rajapaksa seeks a third term based on his leadership during the defeat of the LTTE, who ran a violent separatist campaign for over 30 years.
Sri Lanka has experienced a spate of ethnic and sectarian attacks since its 26-year civil conflict, which pitted the Government against LTTE, ended in 2009.