British Tamil contests seat for European Parliament
[TamilNet, Friday, 15 May 2009, 11:20 GMT]
Ms. Janani (Jan) Jananayagam, a Sri Lankan born, and British, French educated young professional, who immigrated with her teacher parents to UK, has submitted her papers to contest for the June 4th elections to the European Parliament (MEP) as an independent candidate for London, campaign organizers in London said. She becomes the first Tamil to aspire for high-level political office in the UK. Tamil political observers in the UK say, the second generation, technology savvy Tamil, with fluency in both English and Tamil, can mobilize the support from the wider Tamil community currently vocal, and engaged in mass rallies and civil action, the immigrant communities, as well as appeal to the broader section of the British public to support her quest for the EU office.
Citizens of the European Union (EU) or a Commonwealth citizen (Srilanka, Australia, Canada, and others) living at a UK address, irrespective of the visa status, are eligible to vote, according to the British rule.
Eight candidates will be voted as MEPs for London area, one less than the 2004 elections, the UK website for the EU said.
Ms. Janani Jananayagam, contestent for MEP
In the manifesto published in the campaign website, Ms Jananayagam includes Women's Issues, Ethical foreign policy, and Environmental issues as key elements in her main campaigning themes.
On education, Ms Jananayagam says, by recognizing that competitive strength of Europe rests crucially on the skills and talent of its workforce, she will work to prioritize free access to education for all, to improve the quality of education at all levels, and encourage participation of women in disciplines where women are under-represented.
On improving civil rights for all, Ms Jananayagam says she will defend Britain’s long tradition of civil rights and freedom of expression, and oppose and reverse the past decade’s erosion of the civil rights of individuals and communities.
The EU website provides the following details of the MEP elections: "The next elections will take place on Thursday 4 June 2009, to choose the UK's 72 MEPs. The number of MEPs has been reduced from the current 78 as a result of the enlargement of the EU. Elections to the European Parliament are held every five years. The European Parliament was directly elected for the first time in 1979.
"Since 1999 voters in Britain have elected MEPs under a proportional representation system. The European Parliamentary Elections Act of that year introduced a regional list system with seats allocated to parties in proportion to their share of the vote.
"The UK is divided into twelve electoral regions with between three and ten MEPs representing each region. The nine English regions will elect 59 MEPs (Scotland will elect six MEPs and Wales four MEPs. In Northern Ireland three MEPs are elected under its own system of proportional representation," the election website said.