"Denial of franchise will damage peace process"- TNA
[TamilNet, Monday, 15 March 2004, 14:46 GMT]
"Denial of franchise to Tamil voters residing in the Liberation Tigers
held areas in the northeast province in the forthcoming general election
will have serious impact on the current peace process,"
Mr.R.Sampanthan, leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Secretary
General of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) told the
Norwegian special peace envoy Mr. Erik Solheim during a discussion with the
latter at the Norwegian embassy Monday morning, sources said.
The discussion which lasted for about forty five minutes between
Mr.Sampanthan and Mr.Solheim centred on two matters, one was the question
of allowing LTTE held area voters to exercise their franchise without any
interruption by the security forces and the second was the Karuna affair in
the east, sources said.
Norwegian ambassador Mr. Hans Bragattskar also participated in the
discussion, sources said.
Tamil voters residing in the Liberation Tigers held areas in the northeast
province should be allowed to freely, and without any restriction, exercise
their franchise in the forthcoming general election, Mr.Sampanthan told the peace envoy.
According to election department sources, about 84 thousand voters reside
in LTTE held areas in Vanni district, about 45 thousand in Batticaloa
district and about 15 thousand in Trincomalee district.
However some understanding had been reached regarding the location of
polling stations for voters in LTTE head areas in the districts of
Trincomalee and Batticaloa. Authorities concerned have agreed to locate
clustered polling stations in no man zones in Trincomalee and Batticaloa
districts for LTTE held area voters.
"But uncertainty still
prevails in regard to voters in LTTE held areas in the districts of Jaffna
and Vanni," Mr.Sampanthan pointed out to Mr.Solheim, sources said.
Locating clustered polling stations in the army controlled area close to
LTTE held area borders and subjecting the voters to body checks and other
examinations would seriously interrupt the smooth polling and also would
reduce the number of people who will be able to poll, Mr.Sampanthan pointed out.
Mr.Sampanthan said each clustered polling station should be provided with a
European Union monitor and a local one on the polling day to ensure fair
and free polling by LTTE held area voters.
Mr.Solheim replied that he would take up the matter with the authorities
concerned and expressed confidence the problem could be sorted out in an