Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jaffna MC polls soon

President to consult Elections Commissioner next week

With the successful dismantling of the LTTE in the North, the government’s attention is now focused on holding Municipal Council elections in Jaffna.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to consult the Elections Commissioner probably next week on the possibility of calling nominations for the Jaffna Municipal Council election, highly placed government sources said.

This is believed to be the first step towards re-introducing democracy to the north of Sri Lanka after a lapse of nearly 11 years.

The first significant threat to democracy in the north occurred when then Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah was assassinated allegedly by LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran himself in 1975. Since then local administration has gradually deteriorated in the face of terrorism to a total collapse.

Election to the Jaffna Municipality was last held in 1998 after the peninsula was liberated from the LTTE. The TULF headed by V. Anandasangaree won the elections and took over the administration of the council with TULF member Sarojini Yogeswaran as the Mayor. She too was gunned down by the LTTE soon after assuming office.

Thereafter, her successor K. Sivapalan also died in a bomb blast that targeted a Jaffna meeting between the councillors and security officials