Just wanted to put down a few quick comments on the NPC election
- The difference in press coverage by the western media and the Indian media was in stark contrast. Indian Media was out on a limb trying to set up a different narrative than what the Tamil people were voting for
- Voter turn out was higher than many anticipated. Inexplicably, Kankesanthurai electoral district had the lowest turn out at 42.52%. Everywhere else, the turn out was consistently on the high 60’s to 70 percentage
- This happened despite constant intimidation of and violence against the TNA candidates. Sinhala military and para military helpers tried every trick in the book to prevent a vote for the TNA
- TNA received more than the two third majority it was seeking. Every single electoral district voted for TNA. Even the Kayts district where EPDP reign is considered strong
- There was also an expectation that the election was going to be rigged. The Sri Lankan government had far more to lo\ose if it has taken that path for a few reasons:
- The election came about due to international pressure
- Because of that, and to save their credibility, there was more focus from the outside on this election. US and Canada were quick to condemn the election violence. UN welcomed the election.
- Sri Lanka needed to manage this election as best as it could to put up a PR front for the upcoming CHOGM meeting.
- TNA leadership would not be able to take credit for this outcome. It was essentially a people’s movement. TNA had a slow, and floundering start.
- But people were aware of the international attention and were wanting to make a statement to the international community with their votes
- TNA leadership realized this at the late stage of its ground campaign when meeting and talking to people and quickly released its dragged out and delayed manifesto
- The under current of this people movement was visible by the early stand taken by the grassroot candidates ( at odds with the TNA leadership’s views) who had their ear to the ground. Leadership had to follow suit to follow the votes. What TNA leadership says ahead of and during the CHOGM will be the litmus test.
Tamil people voted because they were aware of the international attention. They were savvy enough to understand the statement that needed to be made. It was a vote to end military occupation and a vote for self-rule. Not for a provincial council. Tamil people have always been consistent with their votes.
But the Sinhala Buddhist state has no reason to listen. It has no obligation to act. It never feels accountable, in any way, to the Tamils.
It will be no different this time. But despite the structural genocide against them, Tamil people have spoken loudly and clearly.
It will be unwise for the TNA to interpret the mandate given in any other way. The TNA should rely on the people they serve and not serve the interest of outside powers.
Can the TNA now speak as loudly and clearly as the people who for voted for them?
So loudly that it reaches the ears of the powers that pushed for the election? So they are unable to go back to sleep on the Tamil issue as they did in 2009?