Local elections in NorthEast likely to be postponed

[TamilNet, Monday, 13 March 2006, 10:40 GMT]
A final decision to conduct elections to local government authorities in the North East is to be announced by the Commissioner of Elections this week after consultations with NorthEast district returning officers, political sources in Colombo said. Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse last week agreed in policy to postpone the local elections in the NorthEast local authorities at meeting with a delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by its parliamentary group leader Mr.R.Sampanthan, sources added.

Most of the District Returning Officers in the North East are reported to have told the Commissioner of Elections at earlier conferences that holding elections to several local authorities located in the LTTE held territory will present security issues in having to setting up cluster polling stations for three hundred thousand voters to enter Sri Lanka Government controlled territory to exercise their franchise.

However, military authorities in the NorthEast have told the Election Department recommending setting up cluster polling booths as was done in the presidential election. But the most of election officials are not in favor of the suggestion by the military, sources said.

In the Jaffna electoral district, about 1,11,290 voters reside in LTTE held territory, in Wanni electoral district about 90,338, in Trincomalee electoral district about 6,179, and in Batticaloa electoral district about 80,443, election department sources said.

With seventeen days more to the local council election, Tamil people and candidates of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK) and other parties and independent groups in the NorthEast have not shown interest in holding meetings and canvassing, as they anticipate a postponement, sources said


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