Building the Tamil Eelam State

Emerging State Institutions and Forms of Governance in LTTE-controlled Areas in Sri Lanka

Image of Kristian Stokkeby Kristian Stokke, Third World Quarterly, Vol.27, No.6, pages 1021-1040, 2006


Sri Lanka’s civil war has created a political–territorial division between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), where LTTE is engaged in a process of state building within the areas they control. The article examines this state formation with an emphasis on the functions and forms of governance that are embedded in the new state institutions. It is observed that the emerging state formation has a strong focus on external and internal security, with an additional emphasis on social welfare and economic development. In terms of governance, the LTTE state apparatus is marked by authoritarian centralisation with few formal mechanisms for democratic representation, but there are also partnership arrangements and institutional experiments that may foster more democratic forms of representation and governance. Hence, resolving the security problem in tandem with political transformations towards democratic governance remain prime challenges for peace building in northeast Sri Lanka.
Kristian Stokke is in the Dept. of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo 

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