The government will hold a crucial round of talks with the main Tamil party TNA on May 23 in a bid to find a political settlement to the grievances of the minority ethnic community in Sri Lanka, a media report has said.
The talks have entered a crucial stage. The government has discussed setting up of a second chamber or a senate in the legislature at the talks held on Thursday with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the ColomboPage online reported, citing unnamed government sources.
It said the next round of talks will take place on May 23 to discuss devolution of powers in a bid to address the political aspiration of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
The local Daily Mirror reported that the TNA has dismissed the government's proposal to set up a senate as a substitute for a "power devolution arrangement."
According to the report in the Lankan newspaper, the government handed over a note outlining its plan to establish a senate under the constitution at Thursday’s meeting.
The government has laid out two options for the establishment of the senate. Under the first option, the provincial councils are expected to elect 75 members -three members from 25 districts each. Besides, the President shall nominate 15 members, the report said.
The TNA and government started talks in January, with President Mahinda Rajapaksa opting to appoint a high-powered ministerial committee to discuss the grievances of the Tamil community in Lanka. The TNA wants to press ahead for a political solution to address the grievances of the Tamils.
The former LTTE-proxy party has been demanding quick resolution of the problems facing the internally displaced community, resettlement and expeditious settlement of legal process against the former members of the LTTE. The LTTE waged a bloody three-decade civil war for a separate state for the Tamils of Sri Lanka, alleging discrimination against the minority community at the hands of the majority Sinhalas. The Lankan military crushed the rebels in May 2009 and ended the ethnic conflict that killed between 80,000 and 100,000 people.