156 Jaffna seats remain unfilled
[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Political parties in Jaffna have failed to appoint replacements to local council seats made vacant by the failure of members elected in the local elections of January 29 to take oaths within the stipulated time period.
There are 156 such vacancies and on the 13th of June the groups concerned; TELO, EPDP and DPLF (the political wing of the PLOTE), received letters from the Commissioner of Elections instructing them to fill the vacancies within a month. Despite the looming deadline signs of substitutes still remain scarce.
During the three months since the election only two of the 17 local bodies, the Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) and the Pt. Pedro Urban Council have started to function.
The following bodies; Valikamam East Pradeshiya Sabha (PS), Valikamam Southwest PS, Pt. Pedro PS, Chavakachcheri Urban council (UC) and Valvettithurai Urban council, have yet to appoint both the chairmen and the vice chairmen.
For the Valikamam South PS, Nallur PS and Valikamam West PS, chairmn and vice chairmen have been appointed. However, the councils have not been able to function as none of the other members have taken up their duties.
Velanai PS, Pachchilaippalli PS, Kayts PS and Neduntheevu PS are yet to meet although chairmen and vice chairmen have been appointed.
The chairman for Vadamaradchi Southwest summoned council meetings twice but the meetings could not proceed as attendance were insufficient.
The council for Valikamam North functioned for a short while but has since ceased to do so.
A total of 15 local bodies have not yet started to function although their members have been drawing salaries that last month amounted to 305,090 Rupees ( approx. US $ 5000) for the 80 councillors who had taken up their posts.
Such absenteeism may be a result of the fear created by the assassination of Sarojini Yogeswaren, ex mayoress of Jaffna, on May 17, allegedly by members of the LTTE.
Other suggestions include the failure of the political groups involved to establish proper offices in Jaffna and the possibility that many of the candidates either did not exist or were reluctant nominees and are now even more unwilling councillors.
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03.06.98 Jaffna Dep. Mayor resigns
28.05.98 Three council members resign in Velanai
18.05.98 Jaffna Mayor's killing claimed
30.01.98 Election commissioner releases results
11.12.97 Jaffna officials refuse election duties
03.12.97 Nominations called for local elections in Jaffna