NPC urges LTTE to make public it's not opposed to voting

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 November 2005, 11:38 GMT]
National Peace Council (NPC), in a press release issued in Colombo Thursday said that it will be a "postive gesture in the part of the LTTE to continue to make it known that they are not opposed to the people casting their votes in the Presidential elections." The release said that the various leaflets being distributed in Jaffna district calling for boycott is causing "anxiety amongst the people who are concerned about LTTE's stance with regard to elections."

Full text of the release follows:

There are statements being made and pamphlets being distributed in the north east calling on the people to boycott the forthcoming Presidential elections. This is causing anxiety amongst the people who are concerned about the LTTE's stance with regard to these elections. In their public statements LTTE officials have said that they are going to remain neutral in the elections and will not obstruct the elections in any way. As there is uncertainty in the minds of the people it will be a positive gesture on the part of the LTTE to continue to make it known that they are not opposed to the people casting their votes in the Presidential elections.

The Presidential election is one of the most important political events in the country. Those who call for a boycott of the election point to the failure of past elections to solve the problems of the Tamil people. However, there is a need for partnerships to deal with these problems and bring peace to it. No single community can do this, and the south cannot solve the problem without the north east. Just as much as the government's efforts to find a solution to the ethnic conflict by itself proved futile, so will any Tamil belief that they can stay aloof from the imperatives of national politics including those of the south. North east and south are inextricably inter-connected, and what happens in one part impacts upon the other. This is why partnerships, and not boycotts or isolation, are vitally important for peace building.

The National Peace Council believes it is in the national interest to encourage the Tamil people to take part in the forthcoming Presidential elections. We regret the circumstances that have made people living in the LTTE-controlled areas disadvantaged by having to travel large distances from their places of residence to cast their votes in polling stations one kilometer inside the government-controlled areas. Sri Lanka's democratic development and the resolution of the ethnic conflict through peaceful political processes depend on the ability of all its citizens to exercise their franchise in an unhindered manner. The day must soon dawn when polling stations for elections will be set up close to people’s homes in all parts of the country and they can cast their votes without fear in free and fair elections.

We call on all parties to act positively to take the peace process forward through the democratic process, and with international support, by facilitating the people's democratic right to vote now and in the future. Any direct or indirect pressure on the Tamil people not to vote at the forthcoming Presidential elections will be unacceptable to Sri Lankans who respect democratic values as well to the international community which has already sent its teams of election observers into the country. Those who work for peace in Sri Lanka can only gain legitimacy nationally and internationally only within the democratic framework.

 

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