Is 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.

He 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 the circumstances.

What 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.

The 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.

Instead, 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 Kumaratunga.

The 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 into shape?
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.

Mr 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.

The 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 occur.

Notwithstanding 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?

The 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.

The 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'.

No. 8, Hunupitiya Cross Road, Colombo 2. P.O. Box: 1136, Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.
Tel: 2326247, 2328889, 2433272-3. Fax: 2423922, 2423258
Editor - editor@sundaytimes.wnl.lk
News - stnews@sundaytimes.wnl.lk
Features - features@sundaytimes.wnl.lk
Financial Times- ft@sundaytimes.wnl.lk
Subs Desk - subdesk@sundaytimes.wnl.lk,
Funday Times - funtimes@wijeya.lk

No. 48, Parkway Building, Park Street, Colombo 2, Sri Lanka
Tel: 0115330330, 0115330808, 0115330808. Fax: 2314864
Email: adve@lankabellnet.com


No. 47, W.A.D. Ramanayake Mawatha, Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.
Tel: 2435454, 2448322, 0114714252. Fax: 2459725

Back to Top  Back to Index  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to