Behind LTTE’s boycott of the Sri Lankan election
Behind the LTTE’s boycott of the Sri Lankan election
By M. Vasanthan and S. Jayanth
From the World Socialist Web Site
In the wake of the November 17 Sri Lankan presidential election, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been compelled to issue a statement denying that it organised a boycott of the poll. LTTE political wing leader S. P. Thamilchelvan told the Tamilnet website on Tuesday that the low turnout in the North and East of the island was “a reflection of prevailing Tamil sentiment towards Sri Lankan leaders” and had not been instigated by his organisation.
Thamilchelvan’s comments followed public criticism of the LTTE by the US, European Union, Japan and India after last week’s election. On Monday, the US State Department declared: “The United States regrets that Tamil voters in the northern and eastern parts of the island did not vote in significant numbers due to a clear campaign of intimidation by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).”
The US also indicated that the “peace process” and the ceasefire signed in 2002 between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan military should be “strengthened”. Washington and other major powers have been pushing for a settlement of the island’s 20-year civil war, which threatens to cut across growing US economic and strategic interests on the Indian subcontinent.
Negotiations stalled in 2003, however, and successive governments in Colombo have come under pressure from Sinhala extremists to take a tougher stance against the LTTE. Mahinda Rajapakse, backed by the Sinhala chauvinist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), was elected as president on the basis of a program that amounted to a series of ultimatums to the LTTE…