Sri Lanka Tamil Tigers deny taking bribe to rig elections

Oct 2, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday rejected lingering allegations that they cut a lucrative deal with President Mahinda Rajapakse to ensure his election victory nearly two years ago. The Tigers are leading a drawn-out campaign for independence, and the island’s mainstream political leaders have often been accused of cutting deals with the rebels to secure their hold on power. The head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) political wing, S. P. Thamilselvan, told the Uthayan Tamil newspaper there was “no truth” that the rebels were paid to prevent minority Tamils from voting for Rajapakse’s rival.

“There is absolutely no truth in the widespread allegation among the southern political parties that we have entered into a deal with Mahinda Rajapakse’s side and accepted a large sum of money,” he told the paper.

But he did acknowledge to the paper, which is published in the government-controlled northern Jaffna peninsula, that the LTTE had lower-level contacts with ethnic Sinhalese-majority parties prior to the November 2005 vote.

Two dissidents from Rajapakse’s party have accused the president of cutting a deal with the Tigers to block Tamils from voting for former