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Third party required to resolve TGTE election dispute in France

[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 May 2010 08:41 No Comment]

Tamil unity was to be demonstrated in France by conducting the elections for Country Council, Maison du Tamil Eelam, and Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) simultaneously on May 02. The Election Committee of the Country Council said last week that all the candidates who contested the elections were declared elected representing their constituencies. Providing the number of votes, the Committee said the candidates who topped within their constituencies, would be constituting the national assembly. Meanwhile, in the TGTE elections, four candidates were elected uncontested in four of the eight constituencies. Elections were held only for four constituencies. But, in two of these constituencies, where candidates behind the Country Council initiative scored high, the results were cancelled by the CWG-appointed Election Commission, citing irregularities at 3 centres.

When the independent Election Commissioner was questioned by TamilNet Thursday last week, he pointed at the Country Working Group (CWG) coordinator in France to direct the questions and said that the decision for cancellation was not made by him alone, but by a group of people. He was not able to provide the names of the other personalities comprising the election commission to the media. His responses exposed the nature of the transparency in the CWG-appointed Election Commission. TamilNet refrained from reporting the evolving crisis last week, sustaining a conducive situation to resolve the conflict without media exposure.

The TGTE Commission, allegedly lacking independence and transparency, admitted in a statement issued on 07 May that it would accept the decision by an ‘independent investigation committee.’

However, concerned Tamil activists in Paris told TamilNet Wednesday this week that there was no credible initiative so far to resolve the dispute and urged the elected representatives in other countries to find amicable solution to the crisis, without being dependent upon the CWGs or any other committees involved in the pre-formation process.

The way the TGTE democratic exercise was handled by the CWG has received widespread criticism giving a bitter experience to all involved including the candidates, journalists covering the development, and the public.

The CWGs and the Election Commissions appointed by them, have avoided meaningful nation-wide contests, except in Norway, where elections were conducted in an exemplary way. Many other countries also reported satisfactory conduct of the elections. But, the approach adopted in some constituencies have been blamed as a ‘tactic’ adopted to enable manipulations at constituency level and to elect candidates without contest.

France seems to have demonstrated the worst case scenario.

The CWG members in France have been alleged for actively campaigning favouring certain candidates in the election. The CWG is an ‘appointed’ committee.

In the meantime, political activists with a given shade of opinion formed a common transnational alliance, fielding candidates who were prepared to face the TGTE elections even though the design promoted by the appointed CWGs, comprising personalities with a competing interest, was not favourable to them. They fielded separate candidates for the Country Council and the TGTE.

A candidate of the common alliance in France, Ms Sakthithasan Kirushanthi (Shalini), a medical student who was one of the initiators of the Tamil referendum in France in December 2009 and an activist in the formation of the Country Council, filed her candidature in the TGTE elections in the electoral district 93, a constituency with densely populated Tamil voters, where four candidates contested.

Ms Shalini polled large number of votes in the TGTE elections, with a lead of more than 2000-vote margin. The other candidate elected from the constituency was Mr. Mickel Collins.

The Election Commission on Wednesday last week cancelled the election results of district 93, three days after the elections. The Commission said it registered 28 complaints, but failed to substantiate the claims with credible evidences. 14 complaints were registered in writing and 14 orally, according to the report from the Commission.

The elections were also cancelled in district 92, where only two candidates contested for one seat. Mr. Thirukulasingam Thiruchchoti, a common alliance candidate and an initiator in the formation of the Country Council, had won the seat.

The alleged bias in the CWG and CWG members taking part in the Election Commission has prompted credible accusations on the conduct of the formation body.

Several election officials present at the polling stations have refuted the ‘allegations’ of the CWG and its Election Commission in writing to media on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Despite the irregularities, the details of those elected in the other two districts and those elected uncontested in four districts have been released:

Mr. Mahinthan Sivasubramaniam, a youth activist, and Mr. Sivaguru Balachandran, the editor of Paris Eezhanadu, were elected from the electoral district 75, where four candidates contested.

Three candidates contested for one seat representing the constituency of electoral districts 78 and 95. Mr. Sutharsan Sivagurunathan received highest number of votes in that constituency.

The remaining four candidates have been elected uncontested.

Mr. Balachandran Nagalingam from the electoral district 94, Ms. Subashini Kuruparanathan, representing electoral districts 91 and 77, Mr. Sasikumar Saravanamuththu representing Northern France and Mr. Krishanth Tharmendran from Southern France were the candidates who were elected uncontested.

[Full Coverage]

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