Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Only the ruling party runs their campaign in the North

Sri Lankan opposition parties on Tuesday requested the government to allow them to enter the Northern Province to canvass for the forthcoming presidential election to be held on Jan. 26.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake, parliamentary group leader of the leftist JVP or the People's Liberation Front told reporters that at present only government politicians are allowed to go there and it is very unfair during an election period.

The JVP supports former Chief of Defense Staff and Army Commander Sarath Fonseka at the presidential poll and Fonseka is the main competitor of incumbent president Mahinda Rajapakse.

"We urge the government to allow us to do our politics in the Northern Province as it has been liberated from the control of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) terrorists after 30 years. But the government continuously avoids our request. Only the ruling party runs their campaign there," Dissanayake said.

He said the government must also allow local and international monitors to polling booths on the election day of Jan. 26.

Jayalath Jayawardena, a legislator from the main opposition United National Party also asked the government to permit his party to campaign in the north.

About 130,000 Tamil civilians displaced by the final battles between the government troops and the LTTE are still being accommodated in welfare camps in the province's Vavuniya district, about 250 km north of the capital Colombo. But they are free to move from these camps from Tuesday.

Around 140,000 displaced civilians have been resettled to their native places, while over 10,000 former LTTE cadres are being rehabilitated at 17 centers.

Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said those Tamil people should enjoy their free franchise and the government will not block their right in future elections.

© Xinhua

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