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TNA, Muslim Congress talk co-operation

[Hindu, Sunday, 18 April 2010 07:05 No Comment]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which has emerged as a major political force in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka, intends to join hands with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to work together to secure rights of minorities.

The TNA has so far secured 12 seats in the new Parliament and the SLMC has six seats. The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is short of seven or eight members for a two-thirds majority in the 225 member house.

A clear picture on number of seats secured by each of the parties would be known only after the Election Commission completes re-polling in some of the polling booths in the Kandy and Trincomalee parliamentary constituencies on April 22.

According to SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem, the leader of the TNA has extended a formal invitation to him for a discussion on the outcome of the just concluded general election and how best the two parties could cooperate to safeguard the interests of minorities.

“The basis of our meeting will be to strengthen the voice of minority parties in Parliament and to prevent opportunistic amendments being introduced to the Constitution by some chauvinistic elements in the government,” Mr. Hakeem told a local newspaper.

Without getting into specifics, he told the paper that they were mainly concerned about minority communities, a climate of justice, fair play and good governance.

Like all political parties in the island nation, parties representing minorities are also in favour of fundamental political reforms and amendments to the Constitution. However, on some of the issues in focus they are on a different wavelength.

For instance, the big parties in the country are for replacing the Preferential Representation (PR) system. Under the system a percentage of seats in Parliament are allotted on the basis of percentage of votes secured by the parties.

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