Sri Lanka’s Tamils Go to Polls in First Provincial Elections Since End of Civil War

Electoral wins likely for Tamil party calling for greater devolution

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Buddhika Weerasinghe / Getty Images

Security during an election rally at the former rebel capital of Kilinochchi, on Sept. 14, 2013 in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka

Campaigning ends Wednesday night in the first provincial elections to be held in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province since the end of the civil war in 2009, with ballot choices for the area’s 714,000 voters split along stark ethnic lines.

Up for grabs are 38 seats in the Northern Provincial Council, one of nine in the country. Hoping for a major win is the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), campaigning on a platform of more autonomy for the province. Against it are candidates from the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) of Sinhalese President Mahinda Rajapaksa, or from parties aligned with it. Voting takes place on Sept. 21.

“We want to address the people’s needs like jobs, houses and agriculture development,” said Sinnathurai Tavarajah, a chief ministerial candidate from the UPFA. Perhaps with an eye on winning votes, the government has, in the last fortnight, commissioned half a dozen new development projects in the province, including the 63km extension of  the railway track to the key city of Kilinochchi.

(MORE: Amid Abuse and Fear, Tamils Continue to Leave Sri Lanka)

The TNA, the party that has the largest representation in the national parliament from the Tamil-dominated north, says that what is important is power devolution to address long festering complaints by the Tamils of marginalization. Over 90% of the provincial population is Tamil.

“For the Tamils, the election is yet another opportunity to raise the call for more power sharing,” Abraham Sumanthiran, a TNA parliamentarian said.

A survey by the national rights advocacy body the Centre for Policy Alternatives found that jobs, housing, transport and education were the most important issues faced by the voters. But despite the UPFA’s emphasis on development over power sharing, 33% of those surveyed said they were likely to vote for the TNA, with only 21% choosing the UPFA.

Kumaravadivel Guruparan a law lecturer at the northern University of Jaffna says  there is lingering resentment among voters over the  massive military presence in the province and lack of government initiatives to address allegations of rights violations.

“It’s an opportunity to silently vent out their anger,” he said.

MORE: Sri Lanka Struggles to Contain a Growing Epidemic of Child Abuse

7 comments
sunilkalusayakkarage
sunilkalusayakkarage



Who will be Victorious At Northern Province the Election of 21
September 2013 Created — 1 October 1833
Provincial council 14 November 1987
Capital Jaffna—argest City —- Vavuniya
Districts –List[hide] Jaffna– Kilinochchi– Mannar–Mullaitivu–Vavuniya
The up coming election which is going to be held in Northern
Provincethe on 21 September 2013. Who is the next winng party in
Northern Province. popular according to the solar fire
williaks system. on that day the sunrises rises at about 6.00 clock a.m. an depending on that with an experiments
the political Party.who comes from Northern Province
political party. ascendent is Aries. Planetary Positions at
Sun:06 22′ in Libra-Moon:13° 36′ in Virgo-Saturn:07 36 in Libra
Mercury:29° 18′ in LibraVenus:15° 34 in Scorpio-Pluto:23° 22′ in Libra
Nomination and first election campaign date also effect to the win of the each Northern Province
Mars:15° 23 in LeoJupiter:11° 18 in Libra
Neptune:22° 13′ in Sagittarius
ascendent. The election date United People’s Freedom Alliance –TNA party
and United National party.TNA partyPower.Planet aquries . The luckey number 08
at their Aries assessments and
Sun more power full. The election day according to the elevation of
Latitude and Magnitude sign the well get more vote and be ask the
next Northern Province the Election of TNA party
in Northern Province elected Sure.TNA party will wine
– –2013 –. sure and definity
ASTROLOGER ——-. K. SUNIL OPTHELLE- Galboda – Waturugama – T.P .0332278121 -SRI LANKA
(K. Sunil Opathella—Master of Astrology

Srivanamoth
Srivanamoth

@ponnapillai 

Obviously you don't seem to understand or pretend to want to understand the meaning of good political governance and democracy and equal rights in respect of all citizens of a country. 

Precisely why people possibly like you rioted or encouraged race riots, murdered and denied  equal rights to Tamil citizens and even utterly failed to implement the constitutional provisions relating to Tamil citizens in the unilateral constitutions. In the process after some 35 years of such dastardly violent conduct by people of your ilk the Tamil rebels were born from 1980. They even murdered their own kind and silenced them. 

The so-called war was declared by then President  in August 1983 after the Pogrom of Black July 1983 resulting in mass murder by both sides until its end in May 2009 also resulting in mass carnage of Tamil citizens. Also prior to that of Sinhala citizens too  the LTTE in the 30 year war fueled by racist and religious hatred so endemic in SL owing to failed policeis and actions of the State.  

I am  afraid you fail to comprehend all the issues involved in the failed state apart from mere numbers and jobbery! Only an international impartial by investigation by the UN can reveal all  relevant  facts and take meaningful follow-up actions. Unfortunately the LLRC process failed.

May ALL beings be happy!    

Srivanamoth
Srivanamoth

Hopefully the election will be free and fair. Physical infrastructure is important but personal and land security are more important as are livelihoods and basic freedoms, including freedom from fear which grips the region due to heavy ethnic military presence promoting ethnic cleansing, an old pastime in neo-colonial SL. Without meaningful power sharing the election may turn out to be a dud process.   

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karawatson

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Léon
Léon

Title is misleading. The polls are provincial, that doesn't mean it's only Tamils that vote. Tamils that used to live outside of Tamil Tiger control, i.e. the majority of the Tamil population of Sri Lanka, always had a vote. 

s87
s87

Sad to see Tamils beholden to racism, tribalism and a persecution mentality.

ponnapillai
ponnapillai

@Srivanamoth 

When Tamils escalated their campaign of murder and destruction 30% of all professional jobs and 30% of all government jobs were with the Tamil minority (specifically the Jaffna Tamils).

In 1981

25% of those entering University for Medical studies were Tamils.

24% of those entering University for Dentistry were Tamils.

40% of those entering University for Veterinary Science.

Two of the countries universities were (still are) dedicated for Tamils, i.e. 95% of Students to Jaffna University and 90% to the Eastern University were Tamils

In 1974 the handful of Sinhala students and faculty members at Jaffna University were attacked by Tamil students and chased away –there safety guaranteed only when the police arrived to escort them out (genocide anyone?). In August 2008 similar thing happened to Sinhala students in the Eastern University with them being threatened and student leader Sucharitha Pahan Samarasinghe murdered for being in a Tamil "only" area and Tamil "only" university.

Sri Lanka Census of 1981 dealing with the % of Tamils in the professions (12 % of Sri Lanka's population in 1981 were Tamil):

Physicians & Surgeons, 35.1%

Dentists, 24.7%

Veterinarians, 38.8%

Engineers, 34.9%

Land surveyors, 29.9%

Engineering technicians, 24.3%

Survey draughtsmen, 27.8%

Public Sector Administrators, 15.9%

Tamils owned 80% of the retail trade and 60% of the wholesale trade in the capital Colombo.

Tamils held many top professional posts in Government and the public sector, for example:

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka was Suppiah Sharvananda, a Tamil. In 1988 he would retire and go on to be appointed the governor of the Western Province of Sri Lanka, the country's economic and political hub (in fact 4 out of the 5 governors so far of the Western Province have been Tamil: Sharvananda, Swaminathan, Vignarajah and Ramanathan.).

The Attorney General of Sri Lanka was Sivapasupathi, a Tamil. 

The Chief of Sri Lanka Police was Inspector General Rudra Rajasingham, a Tamil. Many of his immediate deputies were also Tamil. Deputy Inspector General WB Rajaguru would also go on to assume the top post several years later. 

I hope the carnage you caused was worth it.