Sri Lanka's main opposition party today called for the deployment of international observers to monitor the provincial council elections in September in the Tamil-dominated north. "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," Ranil Wickremesinghe, United National Party leader told reporters today in Jaffna. Wickremesinghe 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 advent of the provincial councils in 1987, part of India's intervention to try and resolve the separatist conflict raging in the island at the time. President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week said the conditions were right to hold the elections in the north. The international community has urged Sri Lanka to hold early northern elections as means to achieve reconciliation with the Tamil minority.