Watchdog to educate voters ahead of polls in northern Lanka
Colombo: Voters in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province, where last election was held in 1988, will receive poll education, including how to obtain ID cards ahead of the key provincial elections.
Rohana Hettiarachchi, the head of independent poll watchdog People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), said they would launch a campaign to this effect at the end of April.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has indicated his willingness to hold the northern provincial council polls by September. This pledge was reiterated by Colombo at the just concluded UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva.
Hettiarachchi said the vote education includes awareness to obtain identity cards compulsory for voting at elections.
Due to the decades old conflict and the LTTE's operation of a parallel administration in the North, people may have been left without their national identity cards.
The election is being cited as a key step in the reconciliation with the Tamil minority.
The UN resolution advocates devolution and empowerment of provinces as meaningful action that would contribute towards reconciliation.
There have been no election for the province other than the inaugural election of 1988 when North and East were merged to provide one council. In 2006, the two provinces were demerged to give separate administrations for the provinces.