Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), today appointed a committee to examine if it should contest the much-awaited northern provincial council election in September. TNA sources said a 15-member committee representing the five parties which form the TNA would examine the political situation with regard to the election in the north. President Mahinda Rajapaksa today signed an official proclamation enabling the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to hold the polls in September.
Deshapriya said earlier this month that election could be held on either September 21 or 28. The first ever election for the northern provincial council was long awaited as it was seen by the international community to be a major reconciliation move with the island's Tamil minority since the end of a brutal three-decade-long civil war in 2009 when government troops finally crushed LTTE rebels fighting for a separate Tamil homeland. In the first merged north and east provincial council election held in 1988, Marxist Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) was elected uncontested. Other political parties failed to contest due to threats from the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). However, the administration came to be ceased in 1990 following EPRLF's declaration of Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). The two provinces were de-linked by a Supreme Court order that was delivered in 2006. Eastern provincial council constituted thereafter faced first ever election in 2008. The northern election is to happen after continuous pledges from Colombo at international fora where Sri Lanka's post-conflict reconciliation moves came under attention. Two US moved and India backed resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council in 2012 and 2013 urged Sri Lanka to make progress in reconciliation.