The cries for the abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and for the pruning of powers vested in the provincial councils before the election for the Northern Provincial Council have gone in vain. The said election is to be held without any tinkering in the 13th Amendment or in the Provincial Councils Act, according to the latest reports, despite the fact that it was not the Opposition but the leaders of the Government and its constituent parties that wanted these changes in the existing power sharing mechanism.
It is an open secret as to what prompted the leaders of the Government to suspend or totally abandon their plans in spite of them and the main Tamil coalition TNA, claiming that India did not exert any pressure on them to take their respective stances. The Government seems to have thought it is wiser to live with the reality rather than to succumb to the rhetoric of some of their leaders.
Unlike the Central and North Western Provincial Council elections that are to be held along with the Northern Provincial Council election most probably in September the latter is far more important than the other two, not because the chances of the ruling UPFA in the north is lesser than at the other two provinces, but because it is an election on which the international players who are concerned over the goings on in Sri Lanka have turned their search light, apart from it being one of the best opportunities the government has got to infuse confidence in the northern masses hit by a three decade long bitter war.
Two factors would decide in future, as to how serious the government is on these local and international concerns, one is the quality of the candidates the ruling coalition would choose and the other being the degree of freeness and fairness of the election. The bitter reminiscences of the events in Jaffna during the first and the only District Development Council (DDC) elections in 1981 and the first effort to settle the national question through a power sharing mechanism, would throw light on the possible repercussions of a rigged election among a badly wounded section of the populace. During the Jaffna DDC election in 1981 the J.R. Jayewardene Government totally ignored the fact that the DDCs were created in order to allow the Tamils, in whose name several armed groups were fighting, to taste the limited self rule.
" The Government seems to have thought it is wiser to live with the reality rather than to succumb to the rhetoric of some of their leaders "
If the UPFA or any other party that is not based purely on ethnicity wins the northern election without horse trading, muscle power or any other manipulations it would definitely be a great victory for the nation, since it indicates the great national integration the nation craves for decades. However, an artificial show of integration would definitely be counter-productive, and the hopes for lasting reconciliation would perhaps be lost for good.
On the other hand, the country is paying dearly due to the acts perpetrated by the marauding representatives of the people, mainly those elected on behalf of the ruling coalition. Rape, murder, assault, bribe and similar crimes committed by these “people’s representatives” are fast becoming the order of the day. Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera of the JHU, a constituent party in the ruling coalition said the other day, the whole country had been betrayed in order to defend a murderer in the south. Hence, it is the duty of the major parties not to nominate sadists and fraudsters for the elections and voters too have a responsibility not to elect them. Considering the aspect of confidence building in the Northern Provincial Council election, the necessity to pick and choose at least somewhat decent candidates is doubly vital.