Did youth vote and social media make a difference in Colombo Municipal Council Election of Oct 2011?

Did youth vote and social media make a difference in Colombo Municipal Council election in Sri Lanka held in October 2011?

This was the question that Chanuka Wattegama and I asked ourselves and set out to answer when invited to contribute a chapter to a regional book on how social media are influencing elections in Asia.

Social Media and Elections in Asia-Pacific - The Growing Power of the Youth Vote - book coverThe book, titled “Social Media and Elections in Asia-Pacific – The Growing Power of the Youth Vote“, has just been published by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Media Programme Asia based in Singapore. It is edited by Alastair Carthew and Simon Winkelmann, and available for free download.

The book comprises 10 chapters covering 11 nations written by local contributors from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia,  New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

It examines trends and outcomes surrounding recent elections in these countries — and how social media influenced election campaigning and voting, especially among young voters.

Topics include:

• Use of social media surrounding elections
• Digital electioneering
• How social media can make a difference
• How important is voting to young people?
• Detailed polling of political trends

Our summary for the Sri Lanka chapter:

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is the local government body that administers Sri Lanka’s largest city and its commercial capital. Its last election, held in October 2011, saw the nationally ruling coalition losing this key municipality while winning all other municipalities as well as many of the smaller local government bodies.

What made CMC election outcome different? This election saw some apolitical activists and researchers engaging the mayoral candidates on social media, questioning and critiquing their election manifestos and trying to hold them accountable. Did these online activities influence voter behaviour? What lesson does this hold for other elections and the overall political landscape in Sri Lanka?

Read full book at KAS website

Download Sri Lanka Chapter: Did youth vote and social media make a difference in Colombo Municipal Elecction in 2011 – book chapter

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