Eastern Province election: The big lie about shared power in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy AP/Eranga Jayawardena
  • Justice Minister Hakeem was reported to have told during campaigning, he should not be made to look like a man taken hostage.
  • Ministers Rambukwella and Premjayantha, invited TNA to form a “National” alliance for the Council in the East.
  • Senior Minister and Communist Party leader DEW Gunasekera says he wrote to President Rajapaksa proposing a “National Council” that includes the TNA, for the East.
  • Senior Minister and LSSP leader, Prof Tissa Vitharana backs a “non racial”, all included Council for East.

A week gone by and the claim by President Rajapaksa – that his leadership paved for ten successive victories for the UPFA which by itself is a historic feat – is being severely challenged in the East. People are strangling the conscience of the SLMC leadership and the SLMC shopping list is being ignored by President Rajapaksa.

To begin with, the PC elections were NOT free and fair in any way. After many violent clashes, two murders in the North Central Province and a long chain of violence reported from the East, dispute the statements of some party leaders and the Elections Commissioner that elections were peaceful. A petition filed in the District Court of Anuradhapura by a group of citizens during the campaign period proved in Court there were massive abuse of State power and resources by this regime, for election campaigning. Delivering his judgement, the Judge noted, he has no jurisdiction to punish any and therefore had to stop by making a sweeping statement that citizens should vote all corrupt and law violating men and women out of politics, adding that elections are meant for such clean up.

In the Eastern Province the people did vote them out in the midst of threats to life and armed thuggery, out there in the open. The Tamil people almost en bloc voted with the TNA and for sure, no other ethnic group voted with the TNA, other than Tamils. The Muslim voters had the SLMC clearly identifying with Muslim sentiments, opposing the UPFA head on and that gave all the reasons for the Muslim voters, not to vote TNA, even if they wanted to vote against the UPFA. The anti UPFA Sinhala vote, went the UNP way. With only the Tamil vote in a province where the Tamil population is now a little over 36 per cent, the TNA polled 30.9 per cent of the total polled to have 11 Councillors elected. Two of them have the highest preference votes in the Eastern Province.

The ruling UPFA with all the violence added to their advantage, with all State power abuses, only managed 6,217 votes more than the TNA to get 12 Councillors elected. They thus had the advantage of getting the 02 bonus seats, to make their collection, a total of 14 Councillors. At the last PC elections held in August 2008, when the TNA was not in the picture, the UPFA, again with State power in its hands, polled 52.2 per cent to have 20 elected Councillors. To have that “more than half the votes polled” then, cut back to a mere 31.58 per cent now, is no historic victory to the UPFA.

The defeat of the UPFA in the East, was a massive defeat, given that President Rajapaksa himself campaigned for the UPFA. The SLMC and Justice Minister Hakeem, though part of the regime, broke out in the East as an anti regime entity, campaigning against all violence and threats from UPFA big wigs in the East. The Muslim people in the East who voted for the SLMC thus registered a very aggressive anti government vote and it was 20.98 per cent. The UNP though not up to its expected mark, still polled 11.82 percent mostly from Ampara district, making the total anti government vote a big chunk of 63.7 per cent. This is against the 31.8 per cent the government managed with all thuggery, State power and resource abuse.

What then is the mandate of the people in the East ? It has two very important political messages. First is that, the Tamil people voting lock stock and barrel with the TNA, say they don’t accept this Rajapaksa regime as one, that answers their problems and issues. What ever the report this regime would send for its UPR in Geneva, all their internationally marketed post war achievements have been rejected by the local Tamil people in the East, in no uncertain terms. This Rajapaksa rule, is not the choice of the Tamil people. The second is that, Easterners in a very clear mandate has rejected the UPFA as the political party that should rule the Eastern Province. Their 63.7 per cent mandate is for a non UPFA Provincial rule, which is possible and should be allowed as the democratic right of the people in the East.

What then is this talk about a “National Council” ? About a “non Racial, all included” Council ? Is that not, what the Eastern Provincial Council would be, if the SLMC, TNA and the UNP form the administration, giving the 63.7 per cent anti government vote the right to have their Council ? But, that is not what the aged “Left” and the UPFA is pressurising the SLMC for. This pressure in Colombo and at Temple Trees is one that opposes the very spirit of power sharing. It opposes the political defining of a Provincial Council even in its leanest form, under the half implemented 13th Amendment.

The Centre in Colombo has taken over the power of deciding who would form the Eastern Provincial Council, arrogantly ignoring the mandate given by the voter in the East. The final decision is not going to be on what the parties decide in the East for the East, but on what is offered from the SLMC shopping list, for power in the Colombo government. This regime and that includes the “Left” add-ons too, works on heavy centralised Executive power, they see as “political stability” gained through the 18th Amendment, as explained by Prof Peiris, at the sidelines of the recently concluded CPA sessions. Its high handed, centralised power that totally subverts the mandate of the larger majority of the people in having their own provincial council. Unfortunately, all political parties are accepting and taking that most undemocratic intervention from the Centre, for granted

East is now undisputed proof, this regime is not for any form of devolved power. Its proof too, that minority leaders, the likes of Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem is hostage of his own petty, personal, power politics that gives this regime more strength in centralising power. Add the Bill for “Divi Neguma” that attempts to control all and every local initiative from the Centre in Colombo, under one single minister. This is also proof that even if the Northern PC elections are held as suggested by President Rajapaksa in September, 2013, the Centre in Colombo would finally decide, what that Council should be. As long as they believe they cannot manipulate the Northern provincial Council from Colombo, that elections would not come round. The East perhaps would now make this Rajapaksa regime to postpone the NPC, to 2014.

Its now a different discourse, the Opposition and democratic political forces would have to begin. A new discourse that would not limit the issue of power sharing as the political solution to the ethnic conflict, but one that lifts that need to a more broader democratic platform, to bring round the Sinhala South to discourse how this mighty centralising of power gives way to subvert the mandate of the people and lead to autocratic rule. This centralised power that leads to a gangster style rule, is now a core issue that should cut across all ethnic divides to demand power sharing to the South as well.

  • P.L.J.B.Palipana

    If the REGIME goes for a Presidential Election at this juncture the opposition will win arond 5lacs to 6 lacs votes margin.

  • Citizen

    The author has presented a clear perspective of the anti govt vote, especiaally the minorities. It is upto the SLMC to decide if they want democracy or if they want to perpetuate the present political system of thuggery and coercion.
    I hope that Rauf Hakeen and the SLMC can rise above the greed for power and portfolios and do what is right for the people and country. Portfolios meen nothing other than enjoying fringe benefits at the tax payers expense in this dictatorial govt.

  • Concerned

    I have no doubt that Rauf Hakeem, will be gutless and due to greed and hunger for power, will crumble under the pressure of the UPFA and give in and join ranks with them. This is a huge blow to the Mainly Muslim voters and also a
    Lesson. IF you want to show displeasure of the ruling party, vote for the opposition who can stand firm and not on race or religious lines. This is a realistic view of what will be

  • http://srilankanquest.wordpress.com Celerati Editorial

    I suppose the democratic conscence of the Tamils has been humpered by the IV Eelam War: would you consider yourself a fully fledged citizen after your government chased our for months with starvation and shelling? The government has already won because holding elections brings in the political arena all the subject (and it could not be different). The dilemma is that within a political framework no accountability will be possible, no devolution,regional or self-government should be expected. In other words the UPFA will boycott any real change, but if you don’t play the game with their rules, you’ll be accused of rebellion and consequentely terrorism. Even if it’s just civil disobedience.
    In other words if we are discussing about votes and seats, next council and political maneuvering, the government will stay firmly in control of everything.

  • jansee

    Kusal:

    A very fair and frank assessment of the ground situation but will the ruling regime learn and respect the wishes of the voters who voted against it?

  • Theekshana

    1) Let us not pretent that UPFA is black and TNA, UNP, and SLMC are all white. TNA concurred with LTTE terrorism, SLMC are high priests of political juggling and UNP does not even have internal democracy. Hence i cannot understand why it should be an issue if UPFA joins a common alliance in the east with everyone else. in a way they are the only party who got votes from all three ethnic groups. it is also concerning that SLMC and TNA canvassed on racial grounds.

    2) looking at the results as govt, non-govt is myopic. there were diff parties on the ballot and SLMC leader was a govt minister so even though they voiced concerns with the govt, we cant assume that their voters wanted them to form an alliance without the govt. in my mind those voters wd have wanted SLMC to get the CM post plus more power rather than anything else. SLMC voters were also concerned about the TNA harping on the merger. we cannot pretent that they are a homogenous group and that we know for certain what their alliance preferences are.

    3) an interesting questions groundviews can perhaps look at is whether provincial councils are needed and useful in sri lanka or whather we should look at alternatives perhaps only for the north and the east. PCs were constitutionalised with the gun at our head and never voted for. in the south and the west i think most people look at them as another unecessary bureacracy. we have enough ministers as is.

  • Anpu

    “.. He asserted that the five elected TNA members have had visits from persons claiming to be from the military intelligence offering them houses in Colombo, luxury motor vehicles worth not millions but multi millions of rupees, government contracts or anything they wanted to cross over to the government.

    These members have been given the mobile telephone numbers of their visitors to respond to their offer. If they wanted, they could have got anything under the sun, but they refused to support the government against their conscience, the TNA chief said…”

    http://www.globaltamilnews.net/GTMNEditorial/tabid/71/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/83015/language/en-US/article.aspx

  • http://----- A Concerned Citizen

    There need not be any doubt that the Government is unhappy that it was unable to get the necessary majority in the East in spite of all the known and time tested election tactics it usually adopts to win elections. Also there need be any doubt that the government does not want any devolution of power exercised by the people of the East or elsewhere. In the circumstance if after all the haggling and bargaining the Government gets control of the Eastern Provincial Council, the will of the people will not prevail but the will of the Central Government will be the order of the day with no devolution whatsoever. If on the other hand the TNA and the SLMC get together and form the Eastern Provincial Council, they are sure to end up frustrated because they will have to operate on the funds the central government allocates to the Council through the Finance Commission. The Council has no power to raise its own finances. Even otherwise any statue they enact which has financial implications cannot be presented in the council without the Governor’s approval (which in other words is without the President’s approval). So none of its plans for the development of the East will get off the grounds unless it is something the Centre welcomes. So what is awaiting an Eastern Provincial Council without the Government’s alignment is going to be a still born baby. It would be no wonder if at some stage such a Council ‘Unilaterally Declares Independence” as did the first Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, and pack off. We are heading for worse days in the process of the devolution of power which is nothing but a mirage.

  • citizen

    What i see is that nearly 70% mandate is there not to have a TNA provincial rule!!

    • Peace

      The same nearly 70% goes to the UPFA too, not to have dictator rule.

  • walter

    More than ruling the East, the Government is more interested in sending a significant signal to the U N and the West, that, all is well in the land of the ‘Rajapakse’s’.
    They will bend, twist, break any and every rule in the book of decency and rule of law.
    As for the Muslim leadership you can forget them. When one listen’s to Hakeem’s rhetoric, supposed to be an educated man, his interviews were vague, evasive dodgy and never answered with clarity and honesty.
    Any way that has been his pedigree, It has never surprised me.

    I respect Sampanthan’s logic and evaluation. The T N A is neither here nor there.
    Therefore his move to offer the Post of Chief Minister to Hakeem is a great move, compelling the Muslim voters to express their disapproval of Hakeem’s, manipulative strategy.
    Hakeem must be gasping for breath, for he knows if he abandons Rajapakse all his frills will be lost.
    This is what Ashroff did to Chandrika, cornered her with his Muslim votes and coerced her and got the Port Ministry.
    Hakeem too tried the Ports Ministry but he was not so powerful.
    Aswer, another Muslim who was a Minister under Premadasa whom he praised to high heaven, now [edited out]

  • ordinary lankan

    Kusal

    it is not centralized power

    but centralized ‘powerty’

    a bloated egoistic poverty stricken beggar mentality – totally juvenile and immature in fact

    when did centralized power ever become effective in this country? we were never centralized except for 33 years under parakramabahu and we all know how that ended within 30 years with the exit from rajarata forever

    only the British managed it – we must understand the depth of the issue –

    do you really think a discourse “that lifts that need to a more broader democratic platform, to bring round the Sinhala South” will do it? I doubt it.

    we have to reconstruct a whole worldview again – the worldview we lost with the end of the irrigation civilization

  • Anpu

    Statement made by TNA leader Mr Sampanthan:

    Following an invitation from Mr Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President to the TNA leader Mr. R Sampanthan on the night of 17th September 2012, for a meeting at the Presidents House on 18th
    morning, a meeting took place between the President and Mr, Sampanthan as arranged. Ministers Maithripala Sirisena and Prof G L Peiris were also present at the meeting.

    The President congratulated Mr. Sampanthan on coming a good second at the Eastern Provincial Council Elections and Mr. Sampanthan stated that if the Elections had been free and fair the TNA would have come first. M r. Sampanthan further stated that as per the mandate received by the TNA and the SLMC, the TNA invited the SLMC to form a government and offered the SLMC the Chief Ministership. The UNP would have backed such an arrangement. The President responded by stating that he was quite prepared to sit in the opposition and indicated this to the SLMC and also referred to the offer made by the TNA to the SLMC. He however stated that now things were finalized.

    Mr. Sampanthan stated that the eleven members elected to the Eastern provincial Council from the TNA should be able to function freely and independently and without any deterrence or discrimination. lf this did not happen it would mean that the Tamil people were being punished and that this should not be allowed. Mr. Sampanthan also stated that five of the elected Provincial Council members from the TNA were approached and. Harassed with offers of vehicles houses money and contracts to cross over to the Government and that the Telephone numbers and vehicle numbers of these persons believed to be military intelligence personnel, were available. The President initially denied this but later agreed to look into the matter. Mr. Sampanthan also raised the question of resettlement in Sampur and in Valikamam and the appointment of civilians as Governors of the Northern and Eastern provinces and the appointment of Tamils peaking civilian officials as Government Agents of Trincomalee and Ampara. The President responded by inviting Mr. Sampanthan to attend the Parliamentary Select Committee and stated that these matters could be addressed when that process commenced. Mr. Sampanthan responded by stating that the TNA has never taken up the position that it will not attend the PSC, but has only insisted that commitments made must be implemented before attending the PSC sessions. lt was agreed that this matter would be further pursued on the return of the President from his visit to lndia.

  • Citizen

    It is rather dissapointing that despite th TNA gaining a clear mandate from the Tamil people they have not been given any place in the governance of the PC. This is a big blow against democratic rule. At least the President should have offered them a ministerial position in the PC as a token of recognition of the Tamil people. It does not matter where they sit but giving them a say in the PC would have been a good gesture of reconcilliation.

    It is seen that our politicians are only interested in clinging on to power and enjoying benefits rather than addressing the problems of the country. The winner takes it all while the loser has to sit it out in the opposition for many years. We need multi partisan politics not the rule of the winner. In this case a winner of political expediency. SLMC wins in a hung vote.

  • Noor Nizam – Canada.

    Hon. Rauf Hakeem may have given thought to this content published and acted accordingly.
    “POLITICS SHOULD NOT BE CONFRONTATIONAL, BUT PARTICIPATORY. MUSLIMS IN THE EAST HAVE THEIR ISSUES TO SETTLE.”
    The victory of the UPFA in the recent Eastern Provincial Council elections has to be given serious thought by the Muslim community. Though the UPFA has got 204000 votes and captured 14 seats, this does not mean that the UPFA is the governing body of the Eastern Provincial Council. If the UPFA had got at least 21 seats, then the situation will be different as the UPFA could have been sworn in to governance with their CM candidate. By doing so, they could have formed the EP Council political administration without any hassle. But the realities are different. In the beginning it was that the UPFA will also field candidates nominated by the SLMC a constituent party of the UPFA coalition in parliament. Due to certain demands put forward by the SLMC hierarchy, which were not agreeable to the UPFA and 2 other Muslim based political parties (break away groups of the SLMC) who are also constituent parties of the coalition government of the UPFA, at the very last moment, the SLMC decided to contest the Eastern Provincial Elections on its own. This is the political dilemma that had created a situation where the Muslims of the East are facing, viz-a-viz the support expected by the government to form the new UPFA Eastern Province political administration. The ground cause for the SLMC to give in to the majority call of it’s “poraaligals” from the East were the issues which had been placed before the government by the General Secretary of the SLMC and nominated MP Hassali of Ninthavur. These are many issues that come under the purview of the 13th., amendment and made law by the central government. SLMC parliamentarian Hassanali echoed the sentiments/grievances of the Eastern Muslim voters. The Muslims who comprise 8% of the population have been a sidelined community in the political annals of Sri Lanka , until 1981 and then in 1986 when the SLMC entered the national political arena of Sri Lanka . Since 1946, the elite of the Muslim community in Colombo benefited the best until a change happened in the early 1960 tees with the late Hon. Badiuddin Mahmud becoming the Minister of Education, under the late Hon. Sirimavo R.D.Bandaranaike as the PM then.

    The advent of the late M.H.M. Ashraff, an SLFP’er himself then, later created the SLMC in 1981. On 11th September 1981 the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was established at Kathankudy in the Batticaloa district under the Chairmanship of Marhoom A. L. Ahmed. Marhoom M H M Ashraff was elected its Founder President. This Party was formed by a small group of Eastern province political leaders. Marhoom Ashraff was a good motivator and the key mobilizer in organizing meetings, and questions and answer sessions with Muslim youth, where he began to get people to think seriously and question the Muslim leaders under the majority Sinhalese parties, then. He had the ability to inspire the younger generation of Muslims who were losing faith in the country. He aroused tremendous hope and optimism by talking little things to people. In November 1986 the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was formally inaugurated as a political party at the “badsha” festival held in Colombo with Marhoom Ashraff, as its Leader. The late M.H.M. Ashraff had a vision for his people in doing so.

    It is well known that the East has vast natural resources like ilmenite (used for nuclear energy), silicon dioxide (used for making glass), sea weeds (for use in pharmaceutical products), fishery resources and the development of tourism and wind energy for electricity generation, which are a few to name. A comprehensive plan to develop and exploit these resources would be of great political and socio-economic stability to the government and to the upliftment of the Eastern province population who had been pushed to extreme poverty since independence. The Chinese and the Indians are already engaged in these activities at planning stages. But how much of this is at disposal in the form of socio-economic benefits to the “poraalikals”? What about the Tourist industry too, but the Muslims for religious adherence, shelve this industry other than the trading of the goods sector only. Added to this, has been the culture and tradition of the dominating attitude of the Northern Tamils, who considered the Muslims and Eastern Tamils as second class citizens, a norm that was seen by the infiltration and dominance of all public service positions and the control of the business and private sector segment of the East by Northern Tamils. A very good challenging example of this will be seem if a research study of all the funds allocated by the central government for the development of the education/schooling sector of the Trincomalee district during the last 23 years will be undertaken by the new EPC political administration, once put in place. The research study will show an indication of the extreme levels of administrative manipulations and official “due process” administered by the Northern Tamil bureaucrats against the Muslim school children, Muslim teachers and educational teacher and minor employment staff. The Eastern Muslims were very much battered by this unethical practice of the Northerners. This is NOT an alligation against the Tamil community of the East or the Trincomalee district, but the TRUTH cannot be swept under the carpet at this crucial moment of the history of the Eastern Province that will be opening under the possibilities of an SLMC-UPFA Eastern Provinve Council Political Administration.

    This was also a reason for Karuna Amman to break away in March 2004 from Prabaharan and to help the government forces to clear the East from the LTTE presence. The government as a result of the demerger, called for an Eastern Provincial Council election which took place on May 10, 2008 to elect members to the Council, even at the peak of the war against the LTTE. At this election, the Eastern Muslims got their majority. 18 of the 35 elected councilors were Muslims. Of these eight were in government ranks. Only ten of the elected councilors were Tamils. Of these only six were from the TMVP. But the biggest loss was for the Muslims when they lost “lock stock and barrel’ the possibility of having a Muslims Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council. Was this due to petty selfish regional politics or political selfishness and greed for positions by neglecting the overall benefits to the Muslims in the East or due to the failure of political “CUEMANSHIP” by a certain Muslim political leader, is well explained today. Today, this situation has changed for good. The Muslims in the East did not oppose HE. Mahimda Rajapaksa. They opposed some of the detrimental administrative policies of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. The general Secretary of the SLMC and the Leader of the SLMC have gone on record stating this to the media in the run-up to the EPC elections. Therefore “POLITICS SHOULD NOT BE CONFRONTATIONAL, BUT PARTICIPATORY”.

    MUSLIMS IN THE EAST HAVE THEIR ISSUES TO SETTLE and this they have to talk it over with an open mind and heart with HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa when deliberating the tie-up to the formation of a coalition of the SLMC and the UPFA to form the new EPC political Administration. Nevertheless, the SLMC should be very happy that the President has engaged a very able and trustworthy young politician with innovative vision to be the FACILITATOR and MEDIATOR between the two parties. Though young to politics, but well known as a “doer”, Parliamentarian Sajin Vass Gunawardena can be trusted as a person who is well informed, read and balanced in his thinking of the ethnic and soci-economic issues of all Sri Lankans, especially being involved in the internal issues of this area and the challenges in the international forum. The only thing that the SLMC has at this point to use as a weapon in support of their requests is to just:

    “LISTEN”. Listen to what the President has to tell through parliamentarian Sajin Vass Gunawardena, not counter every suggestion placed on the table and leave the discussions disgruntled by only having “HEARD” what was said at the meeting.
    FOCUS on the issues that they need priority attention by the UPFA and HE the President.
    NOT bring the issues the SLMC has or had with other Muslim parties of the UPA coalition, to the discussions.
    NOT discuss the election violations or confrontation or any challenges of validity of results or blame each others. (To remember that the SLMC is a coalition partner of the UPF government at present and have equal rights and responsibilities like the other coalition parties).
    BE GENEROUS IN REASONING OUT THE RIGHT OF THE EASTERN MUSLIMS AND THEIR SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND LAND ISSUES WITHOUT ANTOGANIZING THE POLITICAL HEIRACHY OF THE UPFA.
    ADOPT A NON-CONFRONTATIONAL, BUT PATICIPATORY APPROACH OF DELIBERATIONS AND MOVE FORWARD.
    ONLY THE SLMC LEADER AND THE GENERAL SECRETARY SHOULD BE THE SPOKESPERSONS FOR THE SLMC AND ITS ELECTED PROVINCIAL COUNCILLORS.
    The SLMC should make sure that in the future they will not be blamed as they have failed as in 2008 to have missed the rightful opportunity of getting a MUSLIM CHIEF MINISTER nominated to the Eastern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka. MUSLIMS IN THE EAST HAVE THEIR ISSUES TO SETTLE. With the balanced and trusted understanding of the “facilitator/mediator, parliamentarian Sajin Vass Gunawardena in place, the SLMC is in the “Right place at the Right time, with the Right people”. The SLMC cannot fail this time. May God AllMighty Allah bless them with patience, and understanding to form the EPC political Administration with the UPFA. If they will do so, we all as Sri Lankans and especially Muslims of the Eastern Province, will be at peace, Insha Allah.

  • justitia

    There will not be democratic governance unless the military governers are replaced by civilians – of/from any community – immediately so that they can liaise with the newly elected council in the east.
    Unless this is done,the de facto military regime will continue with suppression of civil liberties and democratic decisions,of/by the council.
    There are many neutral intellectuals to fill the post.

  • Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    Please read my take on the Eastern Election as it relates to Tamils and TNA:

    http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2012/09/why-tamils-of-tamil-eelam-deserve-self.html#.UGQ6rb8yZt8.blogger

    See under the sub heading – Devolution, 13th Amendment and Eastern PC Elections:

    Up to this day no political solution recognizing the right of Tamils of Eelam to Self-determination has been forth coming, most Sinhala politicians hating the word because it involves at the least a federal arrangement for the Tamils with maximum devolution as an option to separation.

    The 13th amendment does not come close to meeting the criteria for Self-determination. Without police and land powers and functioning under the control of a powerful despotic executive presidency, the system of provincial councils which India is trying to ram down the throats of the Tamils of Eelam, as a devolution package, it must understand, will never satisfy the Tamil penchant for Self-determination.

    The Eastern Provincial Council Elections have shown how easily politicians can kowtow for positions and how political patronage dictates outcomes: The manner in which Rajapakse can twist Rauff Hakkeem round his finger to form an alliance with the Muslim Congress to run the Eastern Provincial Council so that Hakkeem could hold on to his ministerial post, is a case in point.

    The Eastern PC Elections have also shown that the Tamils of Eelam will be in eternal opposition, beholden to Sinhala masters and left to pick up the scraps that they throw at us. To think that if the Eastern PC Elections was ‘free and fair’, the TNA “would have come first,” is an eye-opener. The TNA leader Mr. Sampanthan’s statement after meeting the President reveals the hopeless position the Tamils are in and is indicative of what future elections would be like if safeguards are not put in place. If brief power cuts can decide the fate of the elections, and become a factor between victory and defeat, it begs the question as to why international observers and media were not present at all. When the Rajapaksa regime uses all its resources to corrupt the democratic process, harassing and threatening the TNA candidates to “cross over to the government,” promising material incentives there is very little Tamils could expect by way of recourse.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Madam Usha,

      You say “Up to this day no political solution recognizing the right of Tamils of Eelam to Self-determination has been forth coming, most Sinhala politicians hating the word because it involves at the least a federal arrangement for the Tamils with maximum devolution as an option to separation”

      I have been advocating maximum devolution to the Tamils and the Muslims including Police and Land powers as long as the Tamils, Muslims, Sinhalese, Malays, Kaffirs, Burghers etc have completely equal rights to this Island called Sri Lanka (Eelam does not exist).

      Would you and the TGTE recognise and support COMPLETE EQUALITY as a Right of every Citizen of Lanka? If not why?