Elections commissioner says no to polling stations in LTTE areas

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 February 2004, 15:34 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Commissioner of Elections said Thursday he won’t allow polling booths in areas held by the Liberation Tigers where more than two hundred thousand Tamil voters live. The polling stations would instead be clustered in places controlled by the Sri Lankan armed forces he said. Addressing a press conference at his office in Colombo Thursday at his office he said that he decided to do so for reasons of security, transport problems and land mines.

The Elections Commissioner said the Government Agents for Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar have informed him that they are prepared to hold the polls in those parts of their respective districts which are not controlled by Colombo.

The Commissioner, Mr. Dayananda Dissanayaka, said that he had earlier considered clustering polling stations for LTTE held areas in the no man’s land between the line of control but had decided against it in view of the threat posed by landmines.

He said polling stations for the areas held by the LTTE would be clustered close to exit points where Sri Lankan security forces are present. He was referring to points such as Omanthai, Muhamalai and Uyilankulam in the north and Manmunai, Black Bridge, Valaiyiravu, Paddiruppu Bridge etc., in the east.

"Ensuring the voting rights of the Tamils living in LTTE held areas would be a logistical nightmare", said a Tamil party leader, reacting to Mr. Dissanayaka's decision.


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