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Sri Lanka sets ‘pivotal’ polls for September
August 2, 2013, 5:02 am

Memories of the bloody civil war linger on both sides of the conflict [Xinhua]

Memories of the bloody civil war linger on both sides of the conflict [Xinhua]

Sri Lanka’s election commission announced Thursday that provincial council elections in the country’s north will be held on September 21.

The election in the Tamil-dominated region, which was battered by decades of civil war, will be the first of their kind in 25 years.

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that elections will also be held in the central and northwestern provinces on the same day.

All the main political parties are expected to run at the polls.

International observers say the election is pivotal to assuage the scars of bitter and often brutal fighting between the government in Colombo and the former Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebels who had called for an independent country.

The three-decade civil war ended when government troops defeated the Tigers in 2009. At the time, human rights organisations had accused the government of committing crimes against civilians caught in the crossfire.

The memory of the brutal fighting is likely to prove a challenge for the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) as it runs against the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Colombo has recently been trying to sway its popularity among Tamils by building new transportation infrastructure and promising more facilities.

A number of countries, including India and members of the European Union, have praised Sri Lanka’s decision to hold the polls in a bid to move the country forward.

Source: Agencies