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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 79

Douglas Devananda proposes the activation of the Provincial

[b]Douglas Devananda proposes the activation of the Provincial Council system [/b]

[b]Colombo, 17 October, ([/b] Douglas Devananda, the leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), is campaigning to re-activate the Provincial Council system which has been put on hold since 1990. Pin-pointing that there are two key problems facing the Tamil community – 1) the problem of the LTTE with its authoritarian one-man rule and 2) the problem of the Tamils as a whole facing the critical issues of survival and security – he argues that it is “pragmatic” for the Tamils to go for the Provincial Council system as the first base in a three-step approach to finding a permanent solution to the conflict.

“The second step would be to strengthen devolution in the existing Constitution, and the third, to bring in a new Constitution to change the unitary character,” he told the “Asian Tribune”.

Douglas Devananda, a minister in the Chandrika Kumaratunga’s Cabinet, has decided to back her presidential candidate, Mahinda Rajapakse, arguing that he will implement the Provincial Council system which can ease the current tensions and pave the way for further negotiations.

He says: “No party, not even the JVP or the Hela Urumaya is opposed to the provincial council system, and this is the reason we hope that the next President will set up the North-East provincial administration,'' said Mr. Devananda.

Devanada states that under the prevailing political impasse Tamils are unable to move in any direction with the international and national forces ranged against the demands put forward by the LTTE. “The only way to break the deadlock is to go for the best available option and then advance to the next stages. This can be done without much opposition from the Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarian electorate through the provincial council system. The next president will find it easy to implement as it will get the total backing of India which helped to introduce it under the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement,” he added.

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