ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s main minority Tamil party has called on newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to respect their supporters’ demand for devolution of power to address the community’s grievances expressed at the recent presidential poll.
“Our wish is that the new President will respect the very substantial democratic verdict of the Tamil people of the North and East and it is my belief that he will do so,” said R. Sampanthan, leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
“It is only then that we can bring about a sense of oneness and the feeling that we are all equal citizens of one country and this country will be protected and that by creating such an environment we can achieve major economic and social development which will benefit all the people of this country.”
Sampanthan said people belonging to all administrative and electoral districts in the north and east have very largely voted for Rajapaksa’s main opponent at the poll, Sajith Premadasa.
He said in a statement Premadasa in his election manifesto had “outlined certain features pertaining to the resolution of the longstanding national question” where minority Tamils in the north and east are demand more autonomy.
“The Tamil National Alliance requested the people to vote for Sajith Premadasa. This was based on the concept of maximum devolution of power, and thereby achieving a solution to the national question within a united undivided indivisible Sri Lanka,” Sampanthan said.
All major political parties and leaders have accepted that maximum devolution of power is needed to find a solution to the national question, he said.
“Accepting our request and rejecting the call to boycott or to vote for a Tamil candidate and by voting for Sajith Premadasa the Tamil people have sent a clear message to the leaders of our country and to the international community, that the Tamil people are firm in achieving their rights, within a united undivided indivisible country.”
(COLOMBO, 20 November 2019)