Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party has barred former LTTE members from contesting parliamentary elections next month. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said rehabilitated former LTTE members will be considered for selection at future elections.
Several ex-LTTE members had applied to be candidates from the former battle zone districts in the north and eastern provinces for the August 17 polls. The party has even rejected a bid to contest by Ananthi Saseetharan, one of TNA’s elected members in the northern provincial council.
Saseetharan was in the forefront of an international campaign highlighting the abuse of human rights by government troops in the three-decade civil war against the LTTE.
Her husband, Elilan was a senior LTTE member from the eastern province in Trincomalee. Saseetharan alleged he went missing the day he surrendered to the military.
Senior TNA leader M A Sumanthiran said the party was hopeful of winning a maximum of 20 seats in the 225-member parliament. The party had won 13 in the last election in 2010.
The TNA is a coalition of five Tamil groups and they were widely criticised for being proxies of the LTTE at the height of the LTTE’s military campaign.
They won a massive 80 per cent of the vote in the first ever election to the northern provincial council held in 2013.
The TNA backed current President Maithripala Sirisena when he defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa as the opposition unity candidate in the presidential election in January. (Economic Times)