Northeast local elections postponed for Sept. 25
[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 March 2002, 13:41 GMT]
The Election Commissioner Thursday postponed elections to local government bodies in the Northeastern province except the Ampara district for September 25. The Commissioner announced earlier that the elections to north-east local councils would be held on March 25. The Commissioner of Elections Mr.Dayananda Dissanayake made the announced Wednesday after consultations with the Attorney General.
The Commissioner of Elections has been empowered under an amendment to the Local Government Ordinance passed recently in parliament that he could postpone elections depending on the ground situation on reports made by the respective District Returning Officers.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) requested the United National Front government to cancel the north-east local elections to take forward the peace process without any hindrance and also to enable displaced Tamil voters living in welfare centres and camps to exercise their franchise in their own areas.
Tamil National Alliance said that the prime minister promised that the local elections in the Northeast Province would be postponed first and thereafter be cancelled. Fresh nominations would be called when the Election Commission decided to hold elections afresh, TNA sources said.
The main opposition People's Alliance and Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna opposed the postponement of local elections in the Northeast, accusing the UNF of "conspiring with the LTTE" on the matter.