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FeaturesNewsFree and fair election will be cornestone of political solution – NPC

Free and fair election will be cornestone of political solution – NPC

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”The National Peace Council calls for the Tamil people to be provided with the right and opportunity to elect their representatives through a free and fair election. Any conclusions regarding the state of mind of the Tamil people and their attitude to the government can be judged only if a free and fair election is held.

The forthcoming local authority elections to be held on July 23 are taking place in 65 towns, urban areas and rural parts of the country.  However, the main focus of political interest has been on Jaffna in the north where a large number of government ministers and senior politicians of opposition parties are presently campaigning.  The northern elections, while local in scope, are of national importance because of the unresolved grievances of the Tamil people and international pressures that have arisen in relation to them.
One of the principles of democracy is to serve the people irrespective of their political affiliations.  But if the availability of state resources in the future is contingent on the government securing victory, then it is not a democracy that prevails but a distortion.  In addition the opposition should have the freedom to carry out their campaign without hindrance.  Otherwise it is not a free or fair election. Unfortunately, reports from other election monitoring organizations as well point to serious deficiencies on both counts.
The National Peace Council calls for the Tamil people to be provided with the right and opportunity to elect their representatives through a free and fair election. Any conclusions regarding the state of mind of the Tamil people and their attitude to the government can be judged only if a free and fair election is held.  Otherwise neither the Tamil people themselves nor the international community will accept a flawed victory as indicating that the government has won the hearts and minds of the Tamil people.
We are concerned that the election monitoring organization PAFFREL of which the National Peace Council is a partner has stated that “It is being reported that promises are made to people about probable employment and other forms of gratifications if they vote for one party. So far eight cases of election violence have also been reported, namely damage to property, threats to life and indirect actions which would frighten voters by creating a threatening situation. There are also reports of intimidation of candidates.”
The folly of interfering with elections depriving them of their free and fair character was shown up in the District Development Council elections in 1981.  These elections in Jaffna were delegitimised in the eyes of the northern people by the use of the security forces to favour the then government.  Any repeat of the same will be meaningless. The National Peace Council believes that only an election that is free and fair will ensure that genuine representatives of the people will be elected and who can help to usher in democracy to the people of the north. That alone will show the way to work out a sustainable political solution to the ethnic conflict.
Governing Council
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organisation that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.
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