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Elections in E Sri Lanka to go ahead
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08:11, January 22, 2008

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A proposed election in eastern Sri Lanka to appoint local councils will go ahead as the country's Supreme Court refused to issue a restraining order against the holding of the election, election officials said Monday.

The main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), had filed two fundamental rights petition against the holding of elections for nine local councils in the Batticaloa district of the Eastern Province.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the councils until Jan. 26 but the election date is yet to be announced.

The TNA pleaded in court that the security situation in the Batticaloa district was not suitable to hold elections and as such a free and fair election can not be held.

Mahinda Deshapriya, an Election Department official said the Supreme Court refused to issue a restraining order and the TNA had subsequently withdrawn the two petitions.

The government claimed in July 2007 that the total Eastern Province had been free of Tamil Tiger rebels.

But opposition parties accuse armed paramilitary groups of creating a fear psychosis in the Batticaloa district in the run-up to the election making the prospect of holding a free and fair election a remote possibility.

Source: Xinhua

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