Tigers forced Tamils out of Sri Lanka vote: monitors

Sri Lankans voted Thursday in presidential
elections but minority Tamils who could tip the balance in the tight
race were forced out of the ballot by Tiger rebels and sporadic
violence, poll monitors said. Sri Lankans voted Thursday in presidential
elections but minority Tamils who could tip the balance in the tight
race were forced out of the ballot by Tiger rebels and sporadic
violence, poll monitors said. The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said
Tamil Tiger rebels had clearly signalled that Tamils, despite their
kingmaker status in the two-horse race between two majority Sinhalese
candidates, should not vote.

“Given the non participation of a significant number of Tamil
voters at these elections due to the boycott call (by the Tigers) and
intimidation, PAFFREL is deeply concerned about the effective
disenfranchisement of these voters,” the main private poll monitoring
body said.

The future of the island’s faltering peace process with the Tigers,
as well as the deteriorating economy after decades of war and last
year’s tsunami, emerged as the main issues in the face-off between
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and opposition leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe.

El