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    There is no law and order in Jaffna- Ranil

    We intend in carrying out initial organizing work to contest the Northern Provincial Council election as the United National Party. Also we hope to hold discussions with Religious leaders, other political parties and civil organizations regarding the current situation in Jaffna and the entire North. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that accordingly they were engaged in a 4 day tour of the North in order to fulfill these objectives. Speaking at a media briefing that was held in Jaffna recently he also expressed the following views.

    After arriving here this morning we were able to hold discussions with MP Suresh Premachandran. We also held discussions with our party activists and other organizations in the evening.

    The Northern Provincial Council election has to be held and we as the UNP will contest the election. We questioned as to why only the election in the North was not held but elections were held in all other 8 provinces. We also object the idea of holding scattered elections. We need a crucial election that is capable of changing the government and we need to hold the election in the North before September as soon as possible.

    The UNP will select candidates to contest the election and there are 4 points to fulfill before the election.

    Before any of these elections are held the Independent Police Commission, Independent Election Commission, Independent State Services Commission and the Independent Judicial Services Commission should be established. The government’s LLRC report has also stressed the need for these commissions. Accordingly we call on the government to forward the draft bills pertaining to this before May.

    By now law and order has deteriorated in Jaffna. The incident that took place during my last visit to Jaffna comes to my mind. Attention should also be drawn towards the attack on the Uthayan newspaper office. All this is done by one particular group with certain military involvements. Elections cannot be held in such an environment and those officials involved in these incidents should be removed. The government has to ensure the safety of media in Jaffna.

    Before the Northern Provincial Council election is held a civil official should be appointed as the governor of the Northern Province.

    Also we say that foreign observers should be invited to monitor the election and the government should not oppose it.

    As per the assurances given by the government to the UN and also if the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is to be held in Sri Lanka, international observers have to be allowed to monitor the Northern Provincial Council election.

    I reiterate that these 4 points have to be fulfilled if a free and fair election is to be held in the North.

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