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News  


 

PC polls in north soon

By Wilson Gnanadass
Plans are afoot by the UPFA government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to establish a provincial council in the North as the immediate response to the growing emphasis on a political solution to the national question.
Top level discussions are currently underway to expedite the process of setting up a council in the north.
Political strategists and senior politicians are roped in by President Rajapaksa to devise a mechanism to establish the council before both the government and the TNA reached a consensus on a political settlement.

Highly placed government sources disclosed on the condition of anonymity that it has been the wish of President Rajapaksa to create a provincial council in the North before the end of this year as the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led coalition parties were on their 17th year of ruling the country consecutively.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, The Nation reliably learns, is likely to direct the Elections Commissioner to call for the polls in the Northern Province soon.

The political strategists contemplating early polls in the North have informed the President that prior to calling for the elections, the following five prerequisites must be fulfilled.
They are; to expedite the de-mining process, freeing the LTTE suspects on a presidential pardon or prosecute those held on charges, expedite the resettlement programme, socialising the people at the rehabilitation camps and putting out a new electoral registry.
They have pointed out that the estimated 8,000 LTTE suspects held in various prisons and camps without charges must be released immediately and that if this is not done, that would be a severe scar on the present administration.

The strategists have also said that the previous elections were won mainly due to the war victory and not purely due to the UPFA’s popularity. They have further expressed concern over the declining popularity of the government due to various reasons.
Sources told The Nation that the government’s failure to sell the private pension scheme to the private sector was a severe blow to the government and that it is believed that whatever that is offered to the Tamils following the TNA-government discussion, would also be rejected.
“Therefore, it has been decided to offer the northerners the liberty of electing their own members to the council and then run as a separate entity.

(Continued on page 3)