Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Friday issued a proclamation directing the Elections Commissioner (EC) to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). According to the EC, polling could take place either on September 21 or September 28.
These elections will be the first-ever to the NPC since the provincial councils system came into being on November 14, 1987 as an offshoot of the India-Sri Lanka Accord of July 29, 1987.
Following the accord, the Northern and Eastern Provinces were merged to form a single Tamil-speaking province. Elections were held to a North-Eastern Provincial Council (NEPC) in 1988. But the NEPC was dissolved in June 1990 following the unilateral declaration of independence by Chief Minister A Varadarajaperumal. No elections to the NEPC were held thereafter, citing war as the reason.
In 2006, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna went to the SC seeking a de-merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, on the grounds that the merger had taken place “unlawfully”. In October 2006, the SC conceded the claim and the two provinces were de-merged in 2007. In 2008, the first-ever elections to the Eastern Provincial Council were held. But no elections to the NPC could be held because the war was still on in. NPC elections were not held even after the war ended in 2009.
But with India and the international community mounting pressure, Rajapaksa declared that he would hold the elections in Sept 2013.