INDEPENDENT NEWS

Near Total Boycott In Sri Lanka Election

Published: Wed 23 Nov 2005 08:55 AM
Near Total Boycott In Sri Lanka Election
The Reality OF Examine Circumstances the Liberation Tigers said the boycott last week was a reflection of prevailing peoples sentiments towards Sri Lankan leaders, based on their bitter experiences of the past. Denying accusation they had intimidated into not voting in last week’s Sri Lanka Presidential election.
The near total boycott by voters took place despite the oppressive presence of thousands of Sri Lankan troops and Army-backed paramilitaries in Jaffna and other parts of the Northeast, the LTTE's Political Head, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, told Tuesday.
“The reality was that the Tamil people, faced with intimidation by the all pervasive presence of Sri Lankan troops, Army-backed paramilitary cadres and intelligence operatives delivered a message against intimidation by the military," he said.
He questioned how the allegation of intimidation could be levelled against the LTTE when the voters in question were living under the guns of the occupying Sri Lankan forces?
He also pointed out that LTTE members had long ago been withdrawn from SLA held areas in the wake of Sri Lankan military intelligence supported paramilitary attacks on them.
“There are forty thousand Sri Lankan troops in Jaffna alone exercising a clear intimidatory presence,” Mr. Thamilchelvan said. “Nevertheless, there was a record low in polling in Jaffna.”
“Those who allege that the Tamil people were intimidated not only fail to understand the ground reality prevailing in the Tamil homeland in both political and historical context, but also fail to interpret the message the people have given,” he said.
"The reality today is that the tsunami and war displaced people are enduring flood damage in temporary shelters despite four years of peace" Mr. Thamilchelvan, who was monitoring relief work amongst floods in the Vanni, told TamilNet.
"Our stand, as representatives of the Tamil people, on Colombo’s elections, was a reflection of what the vast majority of Tamil people felt,” he said.
“Our conclusion [on the elections] was thus a reflection of the prevailing views of the Tamils. We, as the representatives of the Tamil people have simply adhered to the principle of reflecting that view," he further said.
Mr. Thamilchelvan further pointed out that the LTTE had not ordered Tamils to boycott the elections, but had refused to mobilise for or against any of the Sinhala candidates contesting.
"All access was provided to election monitors if they so wished. Roads were open," the LTTE's Political Head said.
He added that election monitors were still welcome to take up the complaints "issue by issue” and “to examine the circumstances concerned in-depth."

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