|Eastern refugees ( file photo)|
The decision of the SLMC to support the UPFA to the government at the provincial level in the East, is clearly in violation of the mandate given to it, by the voters, and is unprincipled and opportunistic, said R. Sampanthan, the president of the Ilangkai Tamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK) and the parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). The decision made by the SLMC gravely harms the short term safeguards and the long term interests that the Tamil speaking people – the Tamil and Muslim peoples need to secure in order to live with dignity and security in the territories that they have historically inhabited, Mr Sampanthan said in his statement on Sunday.
Full text of the statement issued following the Working Committee meeting of the ITAK held in Vavuniyaa on Saturday follows:
The Working Committee of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (I.T.A.K.) met at Vavuniya on 22 nd September 2012.
The Elections to the Eastern provincial Council held on 8th September 2012 and its’ results were carefully analysed.
It was the unanimous view, that numerous illegal and corrupt practices, such as intimidation of candidates, workers and voters, undue influence and bribery of voters, misuse of government resources, and officials, and misrepresentation were indulged in freely, by the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (U.P.F.A.). In the circumstances the elections were neither free nor fair.
The repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and the absence of independent Elections, Public Services, and Police Services Commissions w as exploited fully by the Government to steal a victory at the Eastern Council Elections, the first major election held after the repeal of the 17 th Amendment to the Constitution.
Despite the above, out of a total of over 633,000 votes cast at the election, the majority claimed by the ruling party was a mere 6217, a majority clearly obtained by reason of the aforesaid illegal and corrupt practices. It was this slim illegally obtained majority that enabled the U.P.F.A to obtain the 2 bonus seats.
In all, only 15 seats were obtained by the U.P.F.A. and it’s partner the National Freedom Front. The parties that campaigned against the U.P.F.A at the elections secured 22 seats- the I.T.A.K.-11 seats, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (S.L.M.C.) 7 seats, U.N.P. – 4 seats. These parties were given a clear mandate by the overwhelming majority of the voters to function against the U.P.F.A. The S.L.M.C was strongly critical of the U.P.F.A and obtained it’s votes, on the basis that it opposed the U.P.F.A. The I.T.A.K. spoke to the leadership of the both the S.L.M.C. and the U.N.P. and offered the Chief Ministership to the S.L.M.C. to form the Government. The U.N.P. agreed to support these initiatives of the I.T.A.K.
The decision of the S.L.M.C to support the U.P.F.A to the Government at the provincial level, is clearly in violation of the mandate given to it, by the voters, and is unprincipled and opportunistic. It gravely harms the short term safeguards and the long term interests that the Tamil speaking people- the Tamil and Muslim peoples need to secure in order to live with dignity and security in the territories that they have historically inhabited.
The I.T.A.K. strongly condemns the betrayal and undermining of the democratic verdict of the voters by the S.L.M.C. The I.T.A.K however remains firmly committed to the evolution of an honorably political solution that is also acceptable to the Muslim people and the I.T.A.K. will not abandon the future well- being of the Tamil speaking people- the Tamil and Muslim peoples – as the S.L.M.C has done.
Of the 12 Tamil members elected to the Provincial Council 11 members were from the I.T.A.K. the 12th Tamil member was the highly questionable election of the former Chief Minister on the U.P.F.A ticket. He is alleged to have received the highest preference vote on the U.P.F.A. list, but no other Tamil
candidate on the U.P.F.A list came close to the winning. It is the belief of the voters in the Batticaloa district, that the alleged vote in favour of the former Chief Minister was manipulated to ensure his victory, and also show that at least one Tamil member was elected on the U.P.F.A ticket. The repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution facilitated this fraudulent process. As a party that strongly opposed the repeal of the 17th Amendment we consider it our duty to point out that such malpractices will continue at future elections.
The I.T.A.K. will take steps to facilitate the eleven members elected to the Eastern Provincial Council from the I.T.A.K. to function as an effective unit in the Provincial Council.
We have already made public and brought to the notice of the President, the harassment meted out to members elected through the I.T.A.K., by forces linked to the Government, to cross over and join the U.P.F.A. The I.T.A.K. looks forward to firm action by the Government to bring such harassment to an end.
Parliamentary Group Leader,
Tamil National Alliance (T.N.A.)