The leader of Sri Lanka’s main opposition party Ranil Wickremesinghe called for the deployment of international observers to monitor the provincial council elections in September in the Northern Province.
“There has to be a group of international and Commonwealth election observers at the elections. They need to be deployed from the day the nominations would be closed, the United National Party leader told reporters today in Jaffna.
He also called for the removal of the present Northern Province governor, G A Chandrasiri, a retired military officer. “The governor has to be a civilian acceptable to everyone”, Wickremesinghe stressed.
The northern provincial council election would be the first ever in the north since the introduction of the provincial councils in 1987, as part of India’s intervention to resolve the separatist conflict raging in the island during this period.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week said the conditions were right to hold the elections in the north but an election commission was not necessary as the functions of the Commissioner of Electricians is quite adequate.
The President said this in response to a question posed by a journalist at the monthly meeting of media heads held at Temple Trees on the 22nd.
The international community has urged Sri Lanka to hold early northern elections as means to achieve reconciliation with the Tamil minority.
Meanwhile a UNP delegation was refused access to a High Security Zone (HSZ) in Valikamam, Jaffna yesterday evening. The UNP delegation currently on a visit to Jaffna with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, had attempted to inspect the area which has been earmarked to be acquired by the government.
Reports from Jaffna said that the delegation including UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake and General Secretary Tissa Attanayake were prevented from entering the area.
The Opposition group travelled to Jaffna following a visit by a delegation from the US Bureau of democracy, human rights and labour for South and Central Asia to the North on a fact finding mission
The UNP delegation also visited the Uthayan office in Jaffna, which had come under an attack recently.