President hopeful Northern people will make full use of polls

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 00:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Elect those who can deliver greater development and prosperity, Mahinda urges Northern voters
  • Says TNA factions in discussions with Govt. as ground support for UPFA swells
  • Daya Master dropped because too many nominations received for 12 slots: Dullas
  • Mahinda says Wayamba CM will be decided by preferential votes
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday expressed hope that people in the north will put to use meaningfully the democratic process of an election to set up a provincial council in the region in September. “We had elections in the north previously such as Presidential, Parliamentary and local government. This is a fresh opportunity for the people to exercise their franchise with regard to Provincial Councils.  Participating in a democratic process is a clear indication of new freedom they are currently enjoying. There has been much progress in the north following the end of the war and I hope that people in a democratic setting will make full use of the opportunity to elect those who can deliver greater development and prosperity,” the President said during a meeting with editors yesterday at Temple Trees. He said that thousands of internally displaced persons have been resettled, child soldiers and former combatants have been reintegrated to the society following rehabilitation and socio-economic progress was being achieved. The President claimed that ground support for the Government was improving, including from some of the TNA members from the local government level. “Some have said they don’t need nominations but will continue to offer support,” the President added. Member of the UPFA Nominations Committee Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said there were 61 applicants for 12 slots available for the coalition in the Northern Province. “The response has been higher than we expected. The task of finalising nominations was difficult, yet, we made the best decisions,” he said in response to a question as to why former LTTE member Daya Master was not considered for polls. In response to the challenge posed by TNA Chief Ministerial candidate C.V. Wigneswaran and his promise that if elected, he will pursue the 13 Amendment, the President said that in the event TNA is victorious, the Government will resolve differences via dialogue. No council will be allowed to grab land and police powers, he pledged. “We have faced much bigger issues in the past,” the President said, adding that “we will talk” to parties concerned. With regard to the battle heating up about the Chief Ministerial post in the North Western Province, the President said: “Let people and preferential votes decide.” Ex-UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara who crossed over and ruling party’s former Wayamba Chief Minister Athula Wijesinghe have separately claimed that they are the UPFA nominee for Chief Ministerial post.