UK Premier reaches out to Tamil Diaspora ahead of electoral reform referendum

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 30 March 2011, 02:01 GMT]
Ahead of a referendum on Britain’s biggest electoral reform in decades, the leader of the ruling Conservative Party, Prime Minister David Cameron, has reaching out to the country’s Tamil community amongst others to oppose the changes. “Every vote from the Tamil community is vital,” Mr. Cameron wrote this week to the British Tamil Conservatives (BTC), which is supporting the ‘no’ campaign. The Premier hailed the Tamil Diaspora’s contribution to British society and noted their concerns about events in Sri Lanka. “I am also fully aware that a lasting peace in Sri Lanka still needs to be won,” he wrote. The referendum on May 5 asks voters to choose between the current "first-past-the-post" system and an "alternative vote" (AV) model, similar to Australia’s. The main opposition Labour Party and the Conservatives’ ruling partner, the Liberal Democrats have declared their support for the AV.

Prime Minister, David Cameron
Prime Minister, David Cameron
“I would like to thank you for your support for the retention of our fair voting system, and wish you every success in your campaign for a ‘No’ vote to AV,” Mr. Cameron said in his letter to the BTC, a copy of which was seen by TamilNet’s London correspondent.

“In this referendum, unlike under AV, every vote will count equally and turnout will be crucial. Every vote from the Tamil community is therefore vital.”

“I would also like to acknowledge the significant contribution the Tamil Diaspora makes to many aspects of British society,” the British Premier wrote. “That contribution is built upon enterprise, community, family and social responsibility – values the Conservative Party hold dear.”

“The [BTC] us based on strong foundations and I want to thank you for all of the good work you have done for our party,” Mr. Cameron added.

“I know that even as you campaign for the retention of our fair voting system in Britain, events in Sri Lanka are never far away from the Tamil community’s thoughts. I am also fully aware that a lasting peace in Sri Lanka still needs to be won.”

“Meaningful political reform and reconciliation in Sri Lanka should be an urgent priority and will only hold legitimacy if the democratic aspirations of all Sri Lankans regardless of ethnicity, can be fulfilled.”

“We continue to encourage the Sri Lankan government to address the concerns of the Tamil people and those of other minority groups.”

The AV referendum has produced unusual political alliances.

The electoral reforms were instigated by the Liberal Democrats, Britian’s third largest party, which is in the ruling alliance with the Conservatives.

While the Conservatives oppose the changes, the Lib-Dems have allied with the main opposition Labour party to support the changes.


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