Tamil National Alliance won't support any party until Tamils' grievances are met: Party sources

The decision has come in the context of current speculation that the TNA may support Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to continue his government.

Published: 14th February 2018 05:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2018 06:04 PM   |  A+A-

Tamil National Alliance leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan. |AP


COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's main Tamil party TNA will not support any southern political party until the minority community's grievances over a new Constitution are addressed, the party sources said today.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) deliberated in Jaffna yesterday and arrived at this decision, the sources said.

The decision has come in the context of current speculation that the TNA may support Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to continue his government.

After its electoral debacle in local council elections, Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) has run into problems with the premier facing pressure to give up the party leadership.

The unity government is even facing the prospect of collapse following the Saturday's election results in which former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's new party Sri Lanka People's Party (SLPP) recorded a resounding victory.

President Maithripala Sirsena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which is in the unity government had demanded the resignation of Wickremesinghe, but the UNP leader has refused to step down.

SLFP suffered its worst drubbing with just 13 per cent of the vote.

The UNP is looking to form a government of its own despite having only 106 seats, 7 short of the working majority.

The TNA had supported the unity government's opposition coalition against Rajapaksa in 2015 and Sirisena was elected on the party's support from the Tamil-dominated north.

Despite the moderate Tamil support for Sirisena's reconciliation, Tamil nationalists remain disgruntled with the slow pace in the delivery of a new Constitution which will address the political aspirations of the community.

The Sirisena government had aimed to replace the existing 1978 Constitution with a new one while accommodating the Tamil demand for devolution of power to their regions.

Rajapaksa's large support from the Sinhala Buddhist majority appears to make the Constitutional reforms effort a non-starter.

Last year, the TNA had said it will not be a part of the ongoing Constitution-making process and will quit if the government abandoned the idea of finding a political solution to the Tamil issue and more devolution was not considered.

The new Constitution will replace the current executive president-headed Constitution adopted in 1978.

The government expects the new Constitution to address the demand of Tamil minorities for political recognition.

With the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in 2009, the Tamil groups have opted for maximum devolution as opposed to LTTE's goal of a separate Tamil homeland.

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