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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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Eastern province situation conducive - Minister Seneviratne

The main Opposition UNP on Friday reiterated that a peaceful atmosphere in the Eastern Province must be created by the Government as early as possible to enable all political parties to contest the forthcoming Provincial Council elections without any intimidation or threat from illegal armed groups.

UNP, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told the `Sunday Observer' that without creating healthy surroundings to conduct an election in the Eastern Province, the candidates of all recognised political parties are reluctant to contest the election, saying that illegal armed groups are a threat to the unarmed candidates and also democracy.

The UNP General Secretary also accused the Government of taking steps to withdraw some major STF camps from the Eastern Province at the request of the TVMP's Pillayan group.

"Such a situation clearly indicates that this group's main intention is to control the area illegally by evacuating the STF during the election period and sabotage the democratic principles," he said.

However, Attanayake said the UNP is expected to discuss this matter with the party's Executive Committee and with several other political parties including the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress on the party's decision of contesting the election on March 25.When contacted Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said the situation in the whole Province was conducive to conduct any election.

"Even PAFEREL an elections monitoring and observation organisation its head Mr. Kingsley Rodrigo told the media that last month's Local Government Election in the Batticaloa District was fair and peaceful atmosphere".

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