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Conducting a Census and Electoral Redistribution in the areas that were illegally occupied by the LTTE

By Ranjith Soysa

(February 28, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) The announcement by the Sri Lankan Elections Commissioner that a population census needs to be carried out in the Northern Province is welcome news.We agree with the commissioner’s assessment that the actual population in this province is far less than what was recorded during the 1981 census. Similarly a census needs to be done in the eastern province focusing on the areas that were illegally occupied by the LTTE.

The number of members of parliament allocated to the districts in the Northern and eastern provinces is based on the 1981 census. This has resulted in the number of parliamentary seats allocated to these areas been disproportionately large relative to the actual population there. This situation has resulted in the Tamil separatist parties such as the TNA who have been winning the majority of these seats wielding a disproportionate amount of power in the parliament. This has allowed them to use this power whenever the opportunity presents itself to influence and force the mainstream parties to accommodate their separatist aspirations. This poses a serious threat to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The extra seats for the North and East have been allocated at the expense of the 7 other Provinces of Sri Lanka. The number of votes required to elect an MP from the North or East is often less that 10% of what it takes in the other Provinces, thus creating an electoral 'gerrymander' which violates the principle of 'equality' among the voters of Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, the grossly inflated 'Total Number of Registered Voters' in these electorates gives the false impression of 'low Tamil voter turnout' which is also used as a powerful propaganda tool by the Tiger Diaspora and their local and foreign backers.

We request the government to conduct an island wide census done at the earliest opportunity and facilitate and electoral redistribution as per the Sri Lankan Constitution in order to protect Sri Lanka from the threats posed by the Tamil separatist political parties.

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