Sri Lanka: Demining work delaying polls in North

The US government on different occasions has stressed on the need for holding northern elections.

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Thursday claimed that demining operations and slow progress in compilation of voters` list was preventing holding of elections for the northern provincial council, the erstwhile battle zone, even as snap polls are being held in other provinces.

Cabinet spokesman and minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, said this while answering questions over why the government had deferred holding the northern election when it announced snap polls yesterday for three other provinces.

He said ridding the former battle zones in the north from anti-personnel mines and slow progress in the compilation of the voters` register were the reasons why elections were not being held.

"Demining work and there are issues with compiling the electoral register. These issues will take time to sort out," Rambukwella said.

Elections for the northern provincial council have been mooted as an urgent step towards reconciliation with the Tamil minority by the international community.

The US government on different occasions has stressed on the need for holding northern elections.

Rambukwella said the government had chosen the politically apt time to hold elections as announced yesterday.

Three councils -- eastern, north central and south eastern -- were dissolved a year ahead of the expiry of their terms.

The move was seen as a test of government popularity.

A convincing win would give the government much impetus locally as well as internationally in the wake of UN Human Rights Council resolution which went against the island late March.

The main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance, has accused the government of running scared to hold the northern election saying that TNA would definitely win the Tamil majority province.


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