Boycott elections to Sri Lanka’s irrelevant parliament

By: Editor’s mail

It is a great pity that Tamils who have had very little benefit from parliament have also been dragged into the forthcoming elections. The parliamentarians from the North and East were not involved in the power struggle of the south between President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe. But when parliament was dissolved Tamils too were forced to get involved in elections.

But for how long can this go on? Despite two years of ceasefire, the army is continuing to occupy the High Security Zones; it is still there in the temples and continues to rule over the Tamil people. At the same time, no rehabilitation work is going on and no money from the Tokyo meeting or elsewhere is coming into the North and East. But in the South, even during the short span of two years while parliament was functioning it passed legislation, attracted investments and gave a better life to the people.

This shows that parliament is an institution that means different things to different sections of Sri Lanka’s citizens. It gives greater benefits to some but not to others. I do not agree with the idea that this is because the North and East are not in a position to benefit from parliament as the south is because of 20 years of devastation. I also do not think it has to do with the low calibre of Tamil MPs.

This is because the system of government is such that parliament has become completely irrelevant to the people of the North and East. It gives them no benefit and it does help them in times of trouble. But people of the North and East continue to be taxpayers and contribute to the functioning of parliament in Colombo.I feel that it is no use sending MPs to a parliament that has no relevance to the people. Till this happens through meaningful constitutional change, if at all, it will not be a bad idea even if the Tamils boycott these elections, because it has no meaning for them.

T. Anandan
Colombo

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