Monday, June 15, 2009

Political parties rallying round UPFA

by P. Krishnaswamy

Several Tamil and Muslim political parties are rallying round the ruling UPFA in the run up to the Vavuniya UC and Jaffna MC polls, which are expected to be held early next month, authoritative political sources said.

Polls to the two local government bodies are very significant in that they mark the beginning of the first phase of post conflict measures towards restoration of democracy and civil administration in the Northern province, the sources also told the Sunday Observer.

Nominations from political parties and independent groups contesting the two local government bodies will be received from June 18 - 25 (noon) and 18 booths for Vavuniya UC polls and 70 for the Jaffna MC polls will be set up while more booths, cluster or otherwise as may be deemed necessary, would be set up outside the peninsula for the nearly 20 percent IDPs in Vavuniya, Mannar, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Gampaha, Kalutara and Colombo, the respective Assistant Commissioners of Elections clarified.

Application forms for voters who are now living in other places as IDPs to have themselves registered for voting at nearby cluster polling booths have already been issued. On receipt of all such applications, their number and the respective areas will be intimated to the Commissioner of Elections for him to determine the number of cluster polling booths or normal booths to be set up in closer vicinity.

Political parties and independent groups contesting the Vavuniya UC polls are required to nominate 15 candidates of whom six have to be in the age group of 18 - 35, Vavuniya Assistant Commissioner of Elections (ACE) A. S. Karunanidhi clarified. The number of registered voters is 24,626 and the number of members to be elected to the UC is eleven, he also said. The number of registered voters for the Jaffna MC is 100,417. The number of candidates to be nominated is 29 while the number to be elected is 23, ACE Guhadasan said. 10,126 of the registered voters are Muslim voters, he stated.

NICs, valid passports, elder's IC and valid Driving Licences or temporary ICs issued by Grama Niladharis and certified by the respective Divisional Secretaries/ACEs will be accepted as authentic document of identity. Ninety percent of the voters in Jaffna already possess valid ICs while applications to others for obtaining temporary ICs have already been issued, the Jaffna ACE said.

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