Elections should be held on time – Sampanthan

Published : 9:08 am  September 20, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 

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  • But says polls should not affect Constitution making process 

 

By M.S.M. Ayub   

Opposition Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan said yesterday that his party, the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) opined that the Provincial Council Elections must be held on time but no election, Provincial Council or Local G1overnment, should have any bearing on the referendum on the proposed new Constitution.  

During an interaction between the leaders of the ITAK and a selected group of journalists at the Opposition Leader’s office Mr. Sampanthan further said that the ITAK would not oppose Buddhism being given the foremost place in the proposed new Constitution too, provided the relevant clause entailed a non-discriminatory clause as well, so that the rights of the followers of other religions also could be protected.   


Sampanthan who is also the leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said that since there is a possibility of elections for the PC or LG bodies affecting the results of the referendum on the proposed new Constitution, his party preferred no elections to be held before such referendum is held. “But we don’t know what would happen as there is a legal aspect as well” he said.  


Explaining a point by Mr. Sampanthan, Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said the party leaders have agreed to take up the Provincial Councils Elections Amendment Bill this week and the government mulled to bring in an amendment to the Bill during the Committee Stage of its debate, to introduce the mixed electoral system for the PC elections as well.   


If it is adopted with that amendment by Parliament, elections for the three PCs that are to stand dissolved next month would be delayed as there is a need to have a delimitation process for them as well, Sumanthiran observed. Sampanthan stated that his party did not want to sabotage the current Constitutional reform process though he was not sure whether it would solve the problems faced by the Tamil people. However, he noted “We are prepared to come down from our stand, but we will not betray the rights of our people.”  


Responding affirmatively to a question whether he stands by his decision on the administration of the Northern Provincial Council taken four years ago, Sampanthan observed that his party should have a Chief Minister in the stature of Mr. Wigneswaran.  


Responding to a question on the pressure exerted by India on the government in respect of the national question, Sampanthan said there might be a softening in their stand as they too have their own interests to safeguard in the face of Chinese interventions in Sri Lanka but India would not let down the Tamil people.  

 

 

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