EPDP to boycott Parliament

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 August 1999, 13:07 GMT]
The Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) said today that it will boycott Parliament until the PA government meets its demands. The Tamil group has nine MPs in the Sri Lankan legislature. Two seats, however, remain vacant currently due to a case pending in the courts.

douglass_devananda_1-p.jpgThe EPDP votes with the government regularly. The support of the group is crucial for the PA government, particularly when the island wide Emergency comes up for ratification in Parliament every month.

The EPDP leader Douglas Devananda has written to the Sri Lankan President this morning outlining the following demands:

Food, medicine and fuel should be sent to the Vanni forthwith.

The supply of dry rations to displaced persons in Jaffna, which has been discontinued, should be resumed.

The security regulations on travel to Jaffna should be relaxed forthwith and facilities for travelling to the peninsula should be increased.

The army regulation which stipulates that Jaffna fisherman should ply their trade only clad in their underwear should be scrapped.

The emergency is to be taken up for voting on July 5. Political observers in Colombo said that the timing of the EPDP's announcement is aimed at bringing pressure on the government at a time when it is counting heavily on Tamil support for constitutional reforms package it plans to put out next month.

Sources said the EPDP appears to believe that its demands, even if met partially by the government, could give it some political mileage in Jaffna at this juncture.

They said that the EPDP wants to enhance its standing in Jaffna now when the Tamil United Liberation Front has been compelled to lie low politically following the assassination of its national list MP Dr.Neelan Thiruchelvam last week.


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