COLOMBO, 27 JUNE: Deferring announcement of the much-awaited provincial council election in the country’s Tamil-dominated north, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today left on an official overseas visit.
Mr Rajapaksa took off on a four-day visit to Tanzania and Seychelles, officials said. His visit came amidst speculation that he would call the northern provincial council election this week.
Presidential sources said the proclamation from the president on holding the northern election has been deferred by two weeks. Sources said the technical reasons of having to seek approval from all of the eight provincial councils for the envisaged amendments to the thirteenth amendment (13A) had held back the presidential decision.
Two of the councils, the southern and the south-western Sabaragamuva council on Tuesday approved the amendments. The amendments are mainly aimed at preventing two or more councils from merging together.
The Opposition, Tamil and Muslim minority parties are objecting to the amendments saying they violate the powers conferred on devolved provincial administrations by the 1987 India-Sri Lanka Accord.
Early this week, the country’s election chief had said that the northern election would be held in September-end. pti