Sri Lanka's Tamil minority elections for self rule

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by Ray, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Sri Lanka's north holds provincial poll

    Sri Lanka's Tamil minority have begun voting in elections set to establish self-rule after decades of struggle.


    Ethnic Tamil voters in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north have gone to the polls to form their first functioning provincial government, hoping it is the first step toward wider regional autonomy after decades of peaceful struggle and a bloody civil war.

    Saturday's elections are expected to give them a limited say in their own affairs and seen by the United Nations and the world community as a crucial test of reconciliation between Tamils and the majority ethnic Sinhalese, who control the government and military.

    More than 700,000 voters are registered to elect 36 members to the provincial council.

    The Tamil National Alliance, considered a political proxy to the Tamil rebels during the conflict, is the favorite to win the election and has fielded a former Supreme Court Justice, CV Wigneswaran, as its chief candidate.

    Discouraging voting

    On the cusp of voting armed police guarded polling booths and while there was no sign of troops in and around Jaffna city, the capital of the province 400km north of Colombo, a different picture was seen elsewhere in remote areas according to TNA.

    "In most rural areas, the military is asking voters not to cast their ballots," TNA candidate Dharmalingam Sithadthan told AFP news agency. "There is also a big smear campaign against the TNA."

    He said he visited over 10 polling booths and noticed military intelligence officers asking voters not to vote for the "house", the symbol of the TNA . "They are doing this in a threatening manner," Sithadthan said. Such reports could not be immediately independently confirmed.

    The election was promoted by the UN Human Rights Council as a step towards ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka after nearly four decades of fighting that killed up to 100,000 people, but the ballot is proving to be divisive as ever.

    The elections come after ethnic divisions widened with the quarter-century civil war that ended in 2009, when government troops crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels who fought to create an independent state.

    At least 80,000 people were killed and northern cities, including many in Jaffna, were reduced to rubble.

    Sri Lanka's north holds provincial poll - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English


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    There is a palpable fear in the SL Govt that if they TNA wins, then the Govt will be embarrassed before the whole world!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Sri Lanka's Tamil dominated northern region holds historic polls

    COLOMBO: About 35 per cent of voters turnout was recorded in Sri Lanka's Tamil majority Northern Province on Saturday for the first local polls in 25 years to elect a council to govern the former war zone, four years after the military defeated rebel LTTE.

    Voting at some 850 stations began on schedule at 7am (local time) amid tight security to elect the first post-war provincial administration in the region dominated by the Tamil Tigers until their defeat in 2009. Soldiers were patrolling the streets with police, election observers said.

    A voter turnout of about 35 per cent was recorded in Jaffna by 10am (local time), provincial elections offices said. Among other places, Kilinochchi district saw voter turnout of 29 per cent, Mannar 30 per cent and Vavuniya 24 per cent.

    More than 2,000 local and foreign observers were deployed in the province where nearly 715,000 people are eligible to vote in the election which would elect a 36-member northern provincial council for a five-year term.

    Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaithivu and Vavuniya districts form the northern provincial council's jurisdiction. These districts for decades held sway as the LTTE heartland.

    The run-up to the election has seen allegations of army intimidation. But this has been firmly denied by the authorities.

    There are nearly 906 candidates for the polls in northern council which is witnessing its first ever elections after councils were created under the 13th Amendment, a byproduct of the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.

    In the first north and east provincial council elections held in 1988, only one political party participated due to the LTTE's armed campaign to set up a separate Tamil homeland.

    One of the election monitoring groups, The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) predicted a low voter turnout at the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections due to widespread disillusionment with the election process and unacceptable long distances to polling centres.

    The elections are also being held in the Sinhala-dominated Southern areas, Central and North Western provinces.

    Ironically, in the run-up to the polls this time, the northern election campaign was fought not in the north but from the capital Colombo and the rest of the south.

    The reason was the government's blistering attack on the main Tamil party, TNA's manifesto.

    It was the Vadukkodai resolution which inspired slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran to wage his bloody separatist campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the north.


    President Mahinda Rajapaksa accused the TNA of trying to drag the island back to LTTE's demand for separation.

    The TNA manifesto has also vowed to retain the existing system of provincial councils through their mandate.

    This would strike a chord with India as New Delhi had urged Colombo to shelve its plan to dilute the provincial powers that became part of the Sri Lankan constitution due to the Indian intervention in 1987.

    Another point of irritation to Colombo was Wigneswaran's remark hailing Prabakaran a hero.

    Rajapaksa's dislike for Wigneswaran was manifested in his address in Vavuniya. He said it was regrettable that TNA had chosen Wigneswaran who was someone from Colombo to be its northern chief ministerial aspirant.

    Sri Lanka's Tamil dominated northern region holds historic polls - Times Of India
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
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  4. Bilal

    Bilal Regular Member

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    Good,so how did the polls go?
     
  5. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    The Tamils Gains Control over North
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Tamil means TNA?
     
  7. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    Yes Sir

    I meant the Tamil National Alliance
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It proves that the secessionist fire is still burning.

    I feel sorry for Rajapakhsye.
     
  9. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    True

    Their Only hope is Separate Country Eleem
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I believe it has been a landslide got the TNA.

    What does that mean?

    Rajapakhsye would be up gum tree!
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Tamils lead polls in Lanka province

    GARDINER HARRIS

    Jaffna, Sept. 22: Despite an apparent campaign of dirty tricks by its opponents and reported efforts at intimidation, the Tamil National Alliance won a sweeping victory today in the first provincial elections in 25 years in Sri Lanka’s war-torn north.

    The Tamil alliance won 30 of the 38 seats on the Northern Province. The governing coalition won seven of the seats, with a Muslim party winning the final seat.

    “These results show that we want political rights and not just peanuts from the government,” said E. Saravanapavan, a member of Parliament representing the Tamil National Alliance. “We are equal citizens and want political power to run the place.”

    Four years after the bloody end of the Tamil insurgency, Tamils in the north yearn for a reduction in the still vast military presence. The army continues to occupy thousands of homes and administer its own farms, factories and resorts on appropriated land for which the government has paid little or no compensation.

    Analysts say it will be increasingly important for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to follow through on more of his promised reconciliation efforts to avoid frustration among the Tamils. Since he has concentrated much of the government’s power in his and his family’s hands, the provincial councils have little power.

    The elections were hard-fought, and a variety of apparent dirty tactics were used to try to defeat the Tamil alliance. Campaign posters appeared for Tamil candidates that gave incorrect selection numbers; voters here choose candidates by numbers and not names, so the posters seemed intended to fool voters into selecting the wrong one.

    A fake version of a respected newspaper in Jaffna, Uthayan, was also distributed. It stated that Ananthi Sasitharan had left the Tamil National Alliance and joined a party associated with the governing coalition. The story claimed that as a result, the Tamil alliance was boycotting the poll.

    “We got hundreds of calls asking us if the story was true,” said S. Anuraj, an editor of the actual Uthayan. “People said the papers were being handed out by military men dressed in civilian clothing.”

    The fake newspaper may explain why turnout in the first hours of the election was relatively light in Jaffna, with many polling places reporting only a trickle of voters. But by midday, turnout had become decidedly heavier.

    NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

    Tamils lead polls in Lanka province

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    Poor Rajapaksa with his dirty tricks department does not realise that the will of the people cannot be subdued with money or favours or dirty tricks!

    The people of the North hvae spoken! 30 out of the 38 seats!

    And this report if from the New York Times!
     
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  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Holding elections in Sri Lanka's North is a victory for the government - President

    He has just witnessed the grapes of wrath!

    He has now realised that the grapes are sour!

    Brave words.

    Eating humble pie!

    Some victory!

    Losing out in the North hands down!

    7 out of 38!

    A drubbing actually that even his dirty tricks could not avoid!

    Naturally.

    The spectre of the LTTE still haunts and makes him shiver!

    Of course he must thank.

    They went in an overdrive with dirty tricks on his behlaf!

    All quotes are from Colombo Page.
    Sri Lanka : Holding elections in Sri Lanka\'s North is a victory for the government - President
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    U.S. urges Sri Lankan government to investigate election violence

    Sun, Sep 22, 2013,


    Sept 22, Colombo: While congratulating the people of Sri Lanka for the historic Provincial Council elections held Saturday (September 21), the United States Embassy in Colombo has urged the government to investigate the election violence, particularly the involvement of uniformed individuals in the attacks.

    Expressing concern about the reports of election violence, the U.S. Embassy in a statement said the high turn-out and participation in all three of the provinces holding elections is a victory for the democratic process.

    Sri Lanka held elections for the Northern, Central and North Western Provincial Councils Saturday. The ruling party claimed victory in the and Central and North Western Provincial Councils and the Tamil National Alliance was victorious in the Northern Province.

    It said particularly troubling have been reports of involvement by uniformed individuals in these acts and urged the government to conduct an investigation.

    "We remain concerned about reports of elections violence, however, and urge a transparent and independent investigation into the various attacks and that the perpetrators be brought to justice swiftly," the statement said.

    While pointing out that "A process free of violence and intimidation in the Northern Province is required for greater civilian administration and to help further the reconciliation process four years after the war," the U.S. Embassy said the elections provided a starting point for that process.

    "These Democracy is not simply about elections, however, and more must be done to ensure that Sri Lankans of all communities can live in the peace and dignity that they deserve," it said.

    Sri Lanka : U.S. urges Sri Lankan government to investigate election violence
     
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Sri Lanka lashes out at Germany and U.S. for undermining Northern PC elections

    Sept 19, Geneva: Sri Lanka today expressed dismay at the concerns expressed by the United States, Germany and Ireland at the General Debate of the 24th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva and asked the detractors at HRC not to discredit the Northern PC election process or prejudge its outcome.

    In a Right of Reply with regard to references made to Sri Lanka by Germany, the U.S. and Ireland under the General Debate at the ongoing session, Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Manisha Gunasekera on Thursday said, it is ironic that Germany chose to discredit the election process for the Northern Provincial Council and prejudge its outcome and impact when Sri Lanka is holding the first ever election to the Council since the introduction of the Provincial Council system in 1987.

    Delivering a statement at the General Debate on "Human rights situations that require the Council's attention" on Tuesday, German Ambassador Hanns Schumacher said the upcoming elections in the Northern Province could help to reconcile and enfranchise the Tamil population, but only if they are free and fair and if the 13th amendment is not revoked.

    Sri Lanka pointed out that commitment of the Sri Lankan government to ensure the transparent and free and fair conduct of the election not only to the Northern Provincial Council, but also to the Central and North Western Provincial Councils which go to polls this Saturday is clearly demonstrated by the presence of 24 election observers from the South Asian region as well as from Commonwealth countries, on the invitation of the Elections Commissioner.

    Sri Lanka further noted that there has been no practice in the country for external monitors to observe provincial council elections but the Election Commissioner invited the foreign observers as confidence building measure and to assure transparency.

    Sri Lankan delegation lashed out at Germany for lack of objectivity displayed by ignoring the steps taken by the government to achieve comprehensive reconciliation as recommended by the LLRC and to investigate alleged atrocities during the final phase of the war.

    Sri Lanka said it is surprised that the U.S. should declare that 'Sri Lanka should set visit dates and provide access for relevant special rapporteurs' when the UNHRC has been updated twice in the current session of the government's proactive engagement with special procedures mandate holders and the invitations it has extended in this regard.

    The U.S. said at the General Debate that Sri Lanka should set dates for Special Rapporteurs to visit and provide relevant access.

    The Sri Lankan government will decide the schedule for such visits according to the requirement of the country and appropriate timing, the delegation said.

    Responding to the concerns expressed by Ireland on the treatment of the prisoners incarcerated in connection with the conflict, enforced disappearances, torture and human rights violations, Sri Lanka denied that there were human rights violations against the prisoners detained in connection with terrorist activities.

    The legal legal representatives and family members, as well as the National Human Rights Commission and the ICRC have free access to all those in custody, the delegation told the Council.

    The envoy told the Council that instances of reported cases of torture have diminished considerably throughout the last five years and the government has recently appointed a Commission to investigate allegations of disappearances, which will complement ongoing action.

    The Sri Lankan delegation said it is disconcerting to keep noting the same allegations, particularly when the Council has been continuously sensitized to the action taken on the very same issues.

    "We can only keep hoping for an objective and constructive approach from the HRC," the envoy said.

    Sri Lanka : Sri Lanka lashes out at Germany and U.S. for undermining Northern PC elections

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    It appears that the SL Govt is most perturbed about the attention the world is giving to SL and its activities!
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Sri Lanka's Supreme Court issues notice to Tamil party over election manifesto

    Sept 18, Colombo: The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka today issued notice on the leaders of the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to appear before the court on 2nd October to show cause regarding the constitutionality of the TNA election manifesto.

    The apex court issued the notice when a petition filed by President of the Patriotic National Movement Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera against the TNA election manifesto was taken up for hearing.

    The Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the petition but did not deliver an injunction order suspending the Northern Provincial Council election as demanded by the petitioner.

    The tri-member bench hearing the petitions comprised Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, Justices K. Sripavan and Rohini Marasinghe.

    Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera filed a petition in the Supreme Court on September 17 appealing to declare the election manifesto of the TNA is against the constitution.

    The petitioner cited in his petition that the TNA election manifesto has been unscrupulously targeted to establish a separate state in the unitary Sri Lanka.

    The petitioner further demanded to deliver an injunction suspending the Northern Provincial Council election until the examination of the petition is concluded.

    The petition requested the Court to ascertain whether the TNA manifesto is in contravention to the Sri Lanka Constitution as it has suggested forming a separate state in Sri Lankan soil.

    Petitioner has further cited in the petition that the manifesto is in line with the hidden agenda of the LTTE. In its election manifesto, the TNA, once considered as a proxy for the terrorist group LTTE during the war, has called for establishing power sharing arrangements in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure. TNA secretary Mavai Senathirajah, leader R. Sampanthan and Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya have been mentioned as the respondents of the petition.

    Four more petitions have been filed in the court by Sinhala organizations requesting the court to suspend the Northern Provincial Council elections over the charge that the TNA manifesto violated the Constitution.

    The petitioners claim that the TNA manifesto violates the sixth amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution which says that no political party or other association or organization shall have as one of its aims or objects the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.

    Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court has power to proscribe any political party or other association or organization found guilty of having the objective to establish a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.

    TNA leaders have vehemently rejected the allegation that its election manifesto demanded a separate state of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.

    However, comments made by the party's Chief Ministerial candidate for the Northern Province, former Supreme Court judge C. Vigneswaran glorifying the slain terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran as a hero not a terrorist, has fueled fears in the southern polity that the party is attempting to revive the arms struggle to achieve the separate state goal

    Sri Lanka : Sri Lanka\'s Supreme Court issues notice to Tamil party over election manifesto

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    The fear of Tamils and the TNA is palpable amongst the non Tamil sri Lankans.

    By hook or by crook, the Buddhists want the Tamil disenfranchised!
     
  16. HeinzGud

    HeinzGud Senior Member Senior Member

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    Poor Rajapaksa? :rofl: I do not think that Rajapaksa or his government got embarrassed by the results of this poll. Rajapaksha government got 20% of the casted votes of the Northern provincial council while his counterpart the United National Party who were with the TNA and tirelessly supported the TNA manifesto only got 0.7% votes.

    Rajapaksha government achieved this victory after countless allegations against it. But they could manage to secure 20% of the votes. This is just the beginning. In future the vote count would go up for the government unless some thing happened like in the first Northern provincial council.
     
  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    It is a rejection of Rajapakshye's philosophy!
     
  18. HeinzGud

    HeinzGud Senior Member Senior Member

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    Indeed it is when TNA spilled the racist venom on the people and these people are still living in the LTTE mentality of Sinhala hatred. Do not forget the about the war was ended just 4 years ago. Those people need sometime to realize what is happening in the country.

    Despite that Rajapaksa secured to gain 20% of casted Tamil votes. He also secured the state Tamil votes in the Central province.
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Ask yourself the question as to why the Tamils developed the hatred.

    You will get your answer.
     
  20. HeinzGud

    HeinzGud Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well first of all that was to gain control of the island as a whole. Study the manifesto of Ponnambalm in 1920s.
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Best of Luck!

    May God go with you.
     

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