Sunday Observer Online
  Ad Space Available Here  


Sunday, 16 September 2012





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Eastern Province seeks formula for administration

Though one week has already passed since the elections for the Eastern, North Central and the Sabaragamauwa Provincial Councils registering yet another electoral victory for the UPFA led government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the elections reigns the main topic in the media as the formation of the Eastern Provincial Council still under discussion among the political parties.

As predicted by many analysts, the Eastern Provincial Council election turned out as the most ethnic and politically sensitive election since no political party could win an absolute majority in the East despite the UPFA securing the highest number of seats in the Council with 14 seats under their fold.

As UPFA making their efforts, the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi which has secured 11 seats in Eastern Provincial Council also making some efforts to establish their own administration by securing the support of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. Therefore, the SLMC with their seven seats has become the most influential and decisive factor either to support the UPFA or the ITAK to set up the administration the Eastern Provincial Council.

Testing ground

Under these circumstances the Eastern Provincial Council has become a testing ground for political competency and maturity of any political party in their effort to establish an administration with an absolute majority and run the administration without any disruption. The only party which has the moral right of establishing the provincial administration is the UPFA as they have secured the highest number of seats.

If the SLMC, which is already a partner of central government, supports the UPFA to establish the provincial administration it will be an ideal combination as it would create an absolute majority with 21 seats in the 37 Member council. Then there is no possibility for the Opposition which comprised the ITAK (11 seats) and the United National Party (4 seats) to disrupt the administration.

According to political sources, the support of SLMC to the UPFA will come at a high cost with a bundle of demands in the form of positions both in the Provincial Council and in the Central government as well, as they have a crucial number of seats at hand to bargain with any political party.

However, another discussion is now emerging to form an all party administration in the Eastern Provincial Council after the idea was mooted by Minister D.E. W. Gunasekara and it was discussed among the parties. That would be the most welcome solution as the Eastern province should be administered by all three communities together if the outcome of the ongoing political negotiation reach a dead end. But it appears that Minister Rauf Hakeem is more lenient towards the UPFA rather than joining hand with ITAK to form the administration the Eastern PC.

Whatever the outcome of the ongoing discussion and whoever becomes the Chief Minister in the Eastern province one clear factor emanating from the Eastern Provincial Council election is that the people in the East have endorsed the development drive carried out by the Government since the liberation of the Eastern province in the middle of 2007 and the accelerated development drive it carried out after May 2009.

But at the same time the Tamil and Muslim communities seems to be distancing from the mainstream political parties and trying to increase their bargaining power in the arena of politics. Even this has been apparent in the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council also as Ceylon Workers Congress also obtained two seats in the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council.

The poor performance of the United National Party in the Eastern province was one of the highlighting factors in the election as the number of seats in the Council has reduced to four at this election. UNP failed to secure at least one seat in the Batticaloa district and came fifth in the district obtaining less than two percent of votes in the district. It is also suffering heavily as the minority voters are distancing from them also.

At the previous Provincial Council election the UNP contested along with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and secured 15 seats in the Council and they secured six seats in the Ampara district alone. This time the number of seats they could secure in the Ampara district has been reduced to three even at a time its national organiser and the chief Ministerial candidate Daya Gamage contesting from the district.

This is the first time that the ITAK contested the Eastern Provincial Council election after their boycott of the 2008 Eastern Provincial Council election. They were able to secure the highest number of votes in the Trincomalee district due to the split of votes of the UPFA with National Freedom Front contesting independently in the district, and securing 9,522 votes.

Jayantha Wijesekara was the only Member who could get elected under NFF list and there was possibility of increasing another one seat to the UPFA if the NFF also contested together with the UPFA in Trincomalee. Apparently the NFF has absorbed the JVP vote base in Trincomalee under their command.

Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan the former Chief Minister of the Eastern Province was the only candidate out of the 11 candidates fielded by the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal under UPFA banner. The former Chief Minister amidst stiff resistance from the ITAK won the most number of preferential votes in the Batticaloa district. Even, Rudramalar Gnanabaskaran, the sister of Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan coulf not make her way to the Council.

Therefore, the decision on the Chief Ministerial post of the Eastern province will be definitely taken considering a person whose party represent highest number of votes in the Council apart from the number of preferential votes they obtained.

The ITAK or the TNA might be wasting the popular vote they obtained from the Eastern PC election if they do not affiliate with a political party to form the administration and do something constructive for their people in the province deviating from the present policies. Now they have the free hand to decide themselves what to do for the benefit of the Tamil community as the LTTE is no longer present in the country. Therefore they can easily join hands with the Government and give their blessings for the development drive in the East rather than engage in protest based politics in the East.

The other hot spot of the election was reported from the Anuradhapura district in the North Central Provincial Council as the topic of the Chief Ministers post still remains a controversy. Berty Premalal Dissanayaka who maintained his popularity in the Anuradhapura district for the past two decades came second in the UPFA preferential votes list obtaining 95,027 preferential votes. S.M. Ranjith, the brother of Minister S.M. Chandrasena, became first in the preferential votes in the Anuradhapura UPFA list with 105,232 votes. He was the one who secured the highest number of preferential votes out from the all three Provincial Councils. At the past PC election Berty Premalal Dissanyake obtained 105,866 votes.

However, the one and only death reported in the PC election was reported in the post election scenario as a result of intra party violence reported in the Anuradhapura district prior to the elections date. Therefore, it has become a difficult factor for the UPFA to appoint a Chief Minister based on the preferential votes. However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa will name the Chief Minister probably today considering all the factors the UPFA is confronting at present.

Total number

The total number of seats in the North Central Provincial Council has increased from 20 to 21 compared to the 2008 Provincial Council election which was held prior to completion of the humanitarian operation. There was a small shift in the vote base of the UPFA due to the low voter turnout reported in some areas.

The number of seats of the UNP has reduced from 12 to 11 while JVP has been able to protect its one seat in the NCP.

There had been no change in the number of seats in the Polonnaruwa district despite the percentage of votes obtained by the UPFA showing a slight increase.

When North Central Province Chief Minister suffered a set back in the preferential votes the former Chief Minister of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, Maheepala Herath was able to maintain his position as the person who received the highest preferential votes in the Sabaragamuwa province. He obtained 84,223 preferential votes from the Kegalle district.

It was Kanchana Jayaratne the husband of Minister Pavithra Vanniarachchi who obtained the highest number of preferential votes from the Rathnapura district. He had secured 64,608 preferences.

The best performance of the UPFA came from the Sabaragamuwa province as the number of the seats obtained by the UPFA increased from 25 to 28 compared to the previous Provincial Council election. The number of UNP seats in the Council has been reduced to 14 from the 17 seats they had in the earlier council.

The JVP failed to secure even one seat in the Council, losing their representation in the council since its formation in 1988. In the Sabaragamuwa PC there has been a lot of changes in the faces of the Provincial Council as 13 new members have been elected to the Council while 14 former councillors lost their seats.

Many new faces from the families with political background in the province has made their entry to the Provincial Council this time. Chamila Dissanayaka, the son of Deputy Minister Lalith Dissanayaka,, Taraka Balasuriya, the son of Minister Prof. Jagath Balasuriya and Governor Kumari Balasuriya, Wathsala Pathamsiri daughter of the MP Y.D Pathmasiri are among the new Councillors elected from the Kegalle district UPFA list.

Apart from that. Prabhath Mahesh de Alwis the son-in-law of Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne, Jayatissa Ranaweera the father of former Councillor Ravindra Jayatissa, and Deepal Gunasekara, Akila Ellawala son of former Chief Minister Mohan Ellawala are among the new faces from the UPFA Rathnapura district list.

Wijayaya Kumarana Withanage, Ranjith Pallepola and Sandith Samarasinghe are the novices from the UNP to the Sabaragamuwa PC. Apart from that Annamalai Baskaran, representing the Ceylon Workers Congress is also a new face to the Sabaragamuwa PC.

One of the prominent loser from the UPFA is Jayatilaka Podinilame who had been the Chief Minister of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council twice under UNP and also a former non Cabinet Minister of the UNF government under Ranil Wickremesinghe. He joined the UPFA and was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the previous Council.

Thusitha Wijemanne who secured the highest preferential votes from UNP list in Kegalle district and Wathsala Pathmasiri are the only women representatives elected to the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council.



Millennium City
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)
Donate Now |

| News | Editorial | Finance | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | Montage | Impact | World | Obituaries | Junior | Magazine |


Produced by Lake House Copyright 2012 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor