Majority opinion for political solution - report

[TamilNet, Friday, 21 May 1999, 03:46 GMT]
An opinion poll conducted amongst voters in the last Provincial council election showed that 66 percent were in favour of a political solution to the island's ethnic conflict, said Prof. Hettige of the University of Colombo while presenting the results of the survey at the Renuka Hotel in Colombo yesterday.

The survey was conducted in collaboration with the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka.

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Nearly 300 Buddhists monks took part in a protest in the capital Colombo, Thursday, May 20, asking the government to crush the Tamil Tiger rebels on the battlefield and not hold peace talks with them.photo: AP
A statement issued by the National Peace Council said that, "the high approval rating for a political approach to ending the conflict gives a potent message to the country's political leaders. The debate about a political solution can prove to be a decisive issue at Presidential and General elections in the coming year."

The poll also showed that 22 percent of the 2149 people who participated in the survey were in favour of a military solution while only 7 percent said that they were for a joint military and political approach to end the conflict.

The statement said that the low approval for a joint military/political indicated a "general disillusionment with the protracted stalemate this approach has given rise to."

Commenting on the ambiguous response to devolution, the NPC statement said, "a significant number of voters are looking for a political solution that is not limited simply to the devolution of power........In this context, more attention will need to be paid to asymmetrical devolution and forms of power sharing at the centre, such as the setting up of a Senate, ethnic quotas in the Cabinet and the election of Vice Presidents from the ethnic minority communities."

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Relatives of Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel who have been listed as missing handed over a memorandum addressed to the President, Chandrika Kumaratunge, on Tuesday, May 18, demanding among the other things, that they be allowed to travel to the Vanni and hold talks with the Liberation Tigers.

 

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