Tamil parties form alliance
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 October 2001, 20:37 GMT]
The main opposition Tamil parties in Sri Lanka agreed Wednesday to form a Tamil nationalist alliance to contest the general elections on 5 December 2001. The agreement was reached late Wednesday night following protracted negotiations over the week. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) decided to cement the alliance by signing a memorandum of understanding on Friday.
Nominations for the 2001 elections begin on Friday, 20 October. Negotiations to forge a united Tamil front which began last week were stymied by ACTC's insistence that it would go it alone in Jaffna.
The alliance was largely due the efforts of pressure groups in Colombo, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. Under the agreement reached today the TULF, TELO, ACTC and the EPRLF (Suresh faction) will contest in all the north and eastern parts of the island under the rising sun symbol.
A Tamil interest group in Colombo mediated to restart unity talks which broke down during the weekend when the ACTC said that it would contest under its own symbol (bicycle) in Jaffna.
The leader of the ACTC, Mr. Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy, refused to given in to pressure from interest groups from Colombo and the east that argued that unity was most needed in Jaffna to defeat the EPDP, a major coalition partner of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government.