UNP, SLMC councilors boycott EPC first sitting
[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 June 2008, 00:32 GMT]
Fifteen councilors elected to the 35 member Eastern Provincial Council on the main opposition United National Party (UNP) ticket Wednesday boycotted the first sitting of the council convened on the instruction by the East Provincial Governor Mohan Wijewickrema, sources in Trincomalee said. Eighteen councilors elected on the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and sole member of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and of the Democratic National Tamil Alliance (DNTA) participated.
At the commencement of the meeting Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan and provincial ministers including M.L.A.M.Hisbullah and other councilors participated at the event hoisting Sri Lanka's national flag and provincial flag.
Later, Provincial Assembly Secretary R.Thiagalaingam read out the proclamation of the provincial governor convening the newly elected EPC. Thereafter, Mr.Thiyagalingam held the election to the post of Chairman of the council. Chief Minister proposed and seconded by Minister Hisbullah, an Attorney-at-Law Hajji Mohamed Mohamed Faiz was elected unopposed.
Former parliamentarian M.K.A.De.S Gunawardene was elected uncontested to the post of Deputy Chairman.
The entire Trincomalee town was put under tight security. Additional police personnel and soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army were deployed at several emergency check points and road blocks in the town, residents from east port town said.
Meanwhile, the fifteen councilors elected on the UNP/SLMC combined ticket took oaths in the presence of Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the UNP and leader of the opposition Wednesday evening. Among them were Rauf Hakeem, Hassan Ali and Segu Dawood Basheer of the SLMC. They had resigned their parliamentary seats and forged an alliance with the UNP and contested the eastern provincial council election held on May 10 on the UNP symbol.
Ranil Wickremasinghe addressing the event held at the office of the leader of opposition said his party would continue its protest against corruption and electoral malpractices now being carried out by the government led by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.