Italian Eezham Tamils conduct referendum, form country council
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 23 March 2010, 00:04 GMT]
Eezham Tamils in Italy successfully conducted a referendum on independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam and simultaneously elected a 20-member country council Sunday. 98.8 percent of those who voted said 'yes' to Tamil Eelam in a turnout of around 75 percent of eligible Eezham Tamil voters in Italy, the organisers of the polls said. Youth figured prominently among those elected to the Council, Ms. Sinthuja Nagendram in her twenties getting the largest number of votes in the national list. The polls organised by an independent election commission of Eezham Tamils in Italy were nationally supervised and monitored by an Italian federation of NGOs, COCIS (Co-ordination of Non-governmental Organisations for International Development Co-operation). In Italy, Sinhalese expatriates are large in numbers compared to Tamils who make only less than a tenth of them.
"I think this is an extra-ordinary result. The majority of the community took part in the polls. I am surprised and pleased," said Marco Sansoè, a member of an organisation called La città di sotto that supervised the polls in the constituency of Piemonte.
Marco Sansoè of La città di sotto addressing media after the polls in Piemonte
"The elections were conducted fairly. There where no problems," he further said, adding that democracy has become meaningful to Tamils.
According to the estimation by the organisers, more then 100,000 Sinhalese live in Italy and Tamils number around 8,000.
Out of around 4,500 eligible Eezham Tamil voters, 3,680 participated in the polls. 3,596 of them said 'yes' to the formation of independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam based on the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution of 1976 while 44 voted 'no' and 40 votes were cancelled.
The participants of the polls simultaneously elected members to the country council, Italian Council of Eezham Tamils (ICET), which in Tamil and Italian named, Iththaaliya Eezhath Thamizhar Makka'lavai / Consiglio italiano dei Eelam Tamil.
20 members were elected to the council, out of whom 5 from the national list and 15 from the regional lists of 7 constituencies: A) Piemonte (1 representative), B) Lombardia and Veneto (2), C) Emilia-romagna and Toscana (3), D) Liguria (2), E) Campania and Lazio (2), F) Puglia (1) and G) Sicilia (4).
The polls took place in 16 centres across the country, where Tamils live in significant numbers. The voting took place between 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday.
Each voter was provided with three sheets, one for the referendum on Tamil Eelam and the other two for electing members under the national list and under the concerned regional list, said COCIS, the body that supervised and monitored the polls in its official news release.
COCIS with member organisations in 12 Italian regions and operating in 90 countries worldwide, promoting peace and justice among peoples, viewed positively in its website the fact that the Tamil diaspora has initiated a democratic, unified and non-violent process to assert to the rights of Tamils.
Italy is the 9th country to conduct the Tamil referendum after Norway, France, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, UK and Denmark, and is the second to form an elected country council after Norway.