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Sri Lankan Tamil parties seek India's intervention to hold elections in 9 provinces

Sri Lankan Tamil parties seek Indias intervention to hold elections in 9 provinces

COLOMBO: A group of Tamil minority political parties in Sri Lanka have called on India to intervene and put pressure on President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to hold elections in nine provinces that have been pending.

The provincial election was postponed in 2018 due to a legal impediment to electoral reform and hasn't been conducted yet.

Tamil political leaders on Tuesday met Gopal Bagley, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and requested for Indian pressure on the Sri Lankan president to hold elections for nine provinces that remain defunct to date.

"The president has lost his mandate. So this is the best time to hold the postponed provincial council election to test the public opinion," Mano Ganesan, a leader of the Tamil Progressives Front, told reporters here on Wednesday.

He added that the global community has lost their trust in Rajapaksa as he has lost his credibility among the public.

"The president is not going to hold any election and neither the Parliament can do anything to hold an election. We urged the Indian High Commissioner to bring any possible pressure (on Rajapaksa) to hold the postponed provincial council election," said Ganesan, who is also a parliamentarian of Sri Lanka's main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) party.

He said that due to the severe economic crisis in the country, the Election Commission could not find the money to hold the elections and therefore, "we urged for the Indian and international community's support to hold the election".

Under the then Prime Minister of India, the late Rajiv Gandhi, India proposed provincial-based devolution based on the 1987 Indo-Lanka Peace Accord.

India has urged the early holding of the elections for all nine provinces, which have been on standstill since 2018.

India in March last year, stressed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva the need for Sri Lanka to hold provincial elections as soon as possible.

Source - PTI

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