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Lanka keen on democracy for Tamils

President Rajapaksa says there is a great need for democratic institutions in North East, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2007 13:53 IST

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said here on Tuesday, that his government was giving "top priority" to the restoration of democratic institutions and political structures in the war-torn, Tamil-speaking North-East.

Speaking to editors of media institutions, Rajapaksa said that there was a "great need" for democratic political institutions in the area, currently subjected to war and the sway of the LTTE.

"The government has no interest whatever in taking the country along the path of continued conflict. No political leadership would want that," he stressed.

There are already media reports saying that the government will hold elections to a newly established Eastern Provincial Council in 2007.

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court had declared in 2006 that the combined Tamil-dominated North Eastern Province had no legal grounds to exist and ordered a de-merger.

It is said that the government is keen on holding elections in the Eastern part because it is multi-ethnic and is expected to be cleared of the LTTE in the course of 2007.

Asked if he was preparing for snap parliamentary elections (his ally, the Janatha Vimukthi Permauna, has been saying that snap elections are on the cards), President Rajapaksa said that there was "no reason" to hold parliamentary polls at the current stage.

"There are no problems with the functioning of parliament. An election will be needed only if the balance of forces in parliament changes," he explained.

First Published: Jan 09, 2007 13:53 IST