Tamil party sweeps Lankan polls

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party, won a landslide victory in the former Northern war zone where the provincial council elections were held for the first time in 25 years.

By Qadijah Irshad

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Published: Tue 24 Sep 2013, 12:01 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:45 PM

The TNA swept all five districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya during the elections held on Saturday, defeating the ruling party. The Tamil party which called its win historic, clinched 30 out of 38 seats with the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s United Peoples Freedom alliance (UPFA) coming in far behind winning just seven seats and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) winning one.

“This has been an unprecedented result in the history of our country, and we’re calling on the government to respect and recognise the democratic state of the Northern Province,” a TNA spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran, told Khaleej Times.

The Tamil party won 80 per cent of the total votes in the North, while 90 per cent of the people in the most populous district of Jaffna voted for the TNA.

“It is great confidence placed in us by the people despite the various intimidation and violence that occurred during the last days of the elections. Being a democratic verdict that people have given in the backdrop of the war, the government is obliged to respect it,” said Sumanthiran.

The TNA said that government was obliged to respect its massive victory. “This means that the provincial council must be a fully exercisable one, and the devolution has to be made a meaningful one as the government has previously promised,” said Sumanthiran.

The major Tamil party has been demanding the government to devolve land and police powers under the provincial council system. The government has repeatedly refused to devolve such powers citing security reasons.

However, the TNA has promised to press on their demands for self-rule in the Tamil majority Northern Province from where the Tamil Tigers rebels fought in an attempt to carve out a separate homeland for the minority Tamils.

An estimated 68 per cent of 719,000 voters in the electorate turned out at polling stations at the former war-ravaged Northern Province. The elections commissioner who had invited several international independent observers including a Commonwealth team to monitor the northern elections concluded that Saturday’s polls had been “free and fair.”

The provincial council has 38 seats. Among the five districts, Jaffna is the largest electorate. Sixteen members for the council have been elected from Jaffna district alone. A total of 906 candidates were in the fray. Elections were also held in the Sinhala-majority Central and North-Western Provinces, which reported incidents of violence. —news@khaleejtimes.com

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