The outcome of the local government elections this year has made one fact evident. Whatever may be the reasons attributed it clearly shows the Peoples’ disappointment with the performance of the present government and the parties in power both in the North and in the South. In the North the TNA lost ground because it was perceived by the voters as not having achieved more in solving the problems of the Tamil people. I would submit that these problems have less to do with the delays in Constitution making or non implementation of the transitional justice mechanisms, but are more related to the existential needs of the people.
This is particularly evident in the districts of Mannar, Killinochchi and Mullaitivu where there was a marked decrease in the TNA’s vote. These are districts in which the people are primarily engaged in agriculture and fishing and where livelihood opportunities and possession of land to cultivate are more important considerations than academic controversies and nationalist theories.
The decrease in the votes in the above mentioned districts also indicates that the voters are not satisfied with the performance of the TNA administered Provincial Council. While admittedly the Provincial Councils are ham strung by Central interference, lack of coordination between Central agencies and provincial agencies, the Governor’s powers over finance etc, all matters which could be remedied by Constitutional adjustments, nevertheless the Provincial Council could have done more to promote the concerns of the people, as in promoting Agriculture and Fisheries, increasing employment opportunities, building up the Cooperative sector which in earlier times had been an effective institution, and focusing on primary education in the province through provision of adequate teachers in Science and mathematics, as well as providing travelling facilities by opening up of additional bus routes for children to easily access the schools, these being some of the concerns of the people. These are all matters which come within the purview of the Provincial Administration, under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.