Referendum on de-merging NorthEast postponed
[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 November 2003, 17:48 GMT]
Sri Lankaís President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, has issued an extra gazette notification announcing the postponement of the referendum, which was to decide whether the temporarily merged Northern and Eastern provinces should be delinked or not, for another year. According to the gazette notification, the referendum for the east will be held on November 17th and for the north on December 01st next year, the Presidential secretariat said in a press release Thursday.
The Northern and Eastern provinces have been temporarily merged since 1987 with the introduction of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution when the provincial council system was introduced in the country under the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Acoord signed by the then Indian Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and the then Sri Lankan President, Mr. J.R.Jayawardene, in an attempt to find a political solution to the Tamil question, sources said.
However, the popularly elected provincial council system has been functioning in the seven provinces in the south since then except in the northeast province, which is now being administered by the central government as the elected provincial council was dissolved in 1990 by the then President, Mr. R. Premadasa, sources said.
Although the President had been under pressure of the chauvinist elements in the south that the temporarily merged north and eastern provinces should be delinked, she has postponed the referendum for another year due to the agitation by several Tamil political parties, political sources said.