Sunday, September 22, 2013

TNA sweeps Northern Province polls

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a Tamil party that was associated with the former separatist rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, recorded a landslide victory in the first local elections in 25 years in northern Sri Lanka, officials said Sunday.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 74 per cent of the vote, giving it 30 seats on the 38-member provincial council, according to preliminary official results.

The United People's Freedom Alliance, which rules at the national level, received only 21 per cent of the vote for seven council seats.

The remaining seat was secured by a Muslim party.

Several years of fighting between the LTTE and the government forces ended with the rebels' defeat in 2009.

The government called the turnout of 75 per cent a "victory for democracy." "The people who hail democracy should be happy that there had been a high turnout in an election held in an area earlier controlled by terrorists and covered with landmines," Environment Minister Susil Premajayantha said.

The TNA vowed to support a federalist political structure, and rejected allegations by some members of the national government that it would advocate for separatism.

"We are willing to work under a unitary state. We are not talking about a separate state," said CV Vigneswaran, a former Supreme Court judge who is expected to become the provincial chief minister.

Minority ethnic Tamils are concentrated in the northern region of the Sinhalese-dominated island nation.
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