Saturday, January 20, 2018 09:37:56 PM

Local Government election dynamics in the North and East

By Harim Peiris - Mon Dec 25, 9:54 pm

Photo courtesy Dhaka Tribune

Despite the year end holiday season, the political focus is on the upcoming local government elections scheduled for February 10th next year. With nominations closing by end December, January will witness the campaigning by the candidates and the political parties for the sovereign Sri Lankan people’s vote. The election has clear ramifications beyond the local bodies, as nationally there is a redrawing of political lines as the government and opposition factions of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), led by President Sirisena and by former President Rajapakse contest the elections separately for the first time.

A relevant factor in the political dynamic is the politics of the North and East, which though important and impactful on Sri Lankan national life is often not taken into consideration in the political discourse. In the Tamil majority Northern Province and in the Batticalo District in the Eastern Province, the TNA dominate the political landscape. Often polling well over seventy percent in their constituencies, the truth of the matter is that the TNA, its leader and Leader of the Opposition, the veteran Rajavarothian Sambanthan has a lock on the Tamil electorate that far exceed even the mid sixty percent which Mahinda Rajapakse hit at the zenith of his post war popularity in 2010, a political high which had dissipated by end 2014.

Making the news a couple of weeks ago was the formation of a new Tamil political alliance, created supposedly to challenge the dominance of the ITAK led TNA, between the TULF of Mr….

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