it notice of war?
When the country was made to believe -- though we believe most people
were not so naïve -- that the LTTE has accepted the sovereignty
of Sri Lanka and is working together with the government, the LTTE'
spokesman and political chief has told this newspaper in an interview
that such is not the case.
says the assertion that the LTTE has accepted the sovereignty of
Sri Lanka is 'contestable' -- meaning it is arguable. Thus we could
see the government's assertion as a marketing ploy to sell its P-TOMS
to the country. Not very truthful, but it is understandable, in
is more dangerous however has been the LTTE's announcement this
week that it is giving 14 days notice to the government that it
would in effect break the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement
signed in February 2002
This country cannot be unmindful of the fact that the LTTE torpedoed
the 1994 peace talks in April the following year by a statement
similar to the one made this week.
LTTE is understandably furious that a convoy of its cadres -- escorted
by the military -- was subjected to ambush in a government-controlled
area. But its reaction seems to be not in proportion to the act.
It is ironic that the attack on the convoy is seen by the LTTE as
a major violation of the CFA and warrants a strong reaction at a
time when the LTTE goes about killing government Intelligence officers
at its will and pleasure. The President seems to be doing little
or nothing about such killings apparently because she does not want
to pinch a nerve in the LTTE.
what does Mr. Thamilselvan tell us in his interview? That the LTTE
has given no guarantees to the government that it would not eliminate
these Intelligence officers "in government-controlled areas"
and it is the responsibility of the law agencies to stop such killings.
That is adding insult to injury to the government's law-enforcement
authorities which are under the direction of the Commander-in-Chief
of the Armed forces of the Republic - President Chandrika Bandaranaike
issue here is what the President will do now. She has boxed herself
into a corner. Having boxed herself into this corner, the fear now
is whether the President is going to allow the LTTE to box the country
The LTTE's latest demand seems to be yet another step in its process
of issuing notice of war -- or at least of violating the CFA, which
can trigger a return to hostilities that has brought ruination to
this entire country, and having its way, at every turn.
Polls Chief, speak up
Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake who insists he wants
to retire - is not saying much if anything about this crucial question
of a Presidential election date.
main opposition UNP and many independent analysts believe the poll
must be held before December 22 this year in view of a gazette notification
issued by the elections commissioner. Indeed the controversy has
been compounded by the unprecedented -- or as some argue purported
-- second swearing-in much after the incumbent President was re-elected
to office in December 1999. Todate, the President's Office has neither
confirmed nor denied a report published in this newspaper as well
that there was this secret, second oath taking, though the Chief
Justice, who administered this oath, confirmed such an event did
such a freak second swearing-in ceremony, where the public was not
told of such an incident of such public importance until what might
be called an 'inspired leak' to the newspapers, there is a legal
argument being trotted that the President's term is a fixed six
year each maximum two-term period. This would mean that an elected
President could run for 12 years whatever date she took her oaths,
publicly or secretively. No doubt such an argument throws up all
kinds of counter-arguments that could see future Presidents tinkering
with these arithmetical jiggery-pokery. For instance, a President
being elected once, calling for elections in four years and then
running for eight more years. Who's going to stop that?
main opposition party in the country, the UNP yesterday launched
a huge protest march calling for Presidential elections in November
this year. It is going on the presumption that there will be no
such elections this year. This is after the President herself has
now said that the election will be next year - not this. But the
Elections Commissioner remains silent. Political parties must also
be ready to announce their presidential candidates. After all, this
is the election for the most important job in the country, and the
commissioner cannot be allowed to spring a surprise on the parties
and the nation.
doubt in the minds of the public is genuine enough for such a public
servant to inform the public and clear these doubts once-and-for-all.
In a democracy, the Elections Commissioner cannot just sit back
and say nothing, fuelling speculation further and further. He cannot
take the attitude 'if there's no election, there is no election'.