Both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka wooed the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) but the latter managed to secure its support. TNA leader R. Sampanthan, MP has said that he and his colleagues had discussions with the two candidates but decided to back Fonseka as they found him more agreeable to their agenda than Rajapaksa.
The TNA and the Diasporic Tigers have, by siding with the former army chief who claims the credit for wiping out the LTTE leadership, shot themselves in the foot in style. Anyway, it was a case of Hobson`s choice for them in trying to help either the President or Fonseka. It would still have been self-defeating for them, had they thrown in their lot with the President, the Commander-in-Chief who prosecuted the war. They have not only given the lie to their much advertised allegations of war crimes against the army and the government but also debunked their own claim of the LTTE being the sole representative of Tamils.
Prabhakaran, who ensured the election of TNA MPs through unbridled violence and mass scale vote rigging at the last parliamentary polls, must be spinning in his grave!
Regrettably, the President and Fonseka let the TNA `interview` them and up the ante and baulked at asking the outfit a vital question: Has the TNA given up its goal of Eelam? Now that Fonseka has got the TNA on his side, the onus is on him to raise that query. Better late than never.
The TNA is not a legitimate political entity. That, however, is not our opinion. There is a general consensus among those who campaign for democracy in this country that we should always do as the international community says. The suspension of Sri Lanka`s GSP Plus trade concession is a case in point. The civil society organisations, the Opposition and a section of the national press are on all fours with the EU, which insists that Sri Lanka has failed to adopt some of the internationally accepted legal and democratic standards of governance and, therefore, does not deserve that facility.
This is what the European Union Election Observation Mission said, in its final report, about the conditions under which the last general election was held in the North and the East in 2004 and how the TNA MPs were elected.
`The reason for the LTTE motivated violence was due to two factors the LTTE intended that no other rival Tamil party (or Tamil candidate from the mainstream political alliances) to the TNA would be able to claim to represent Tamil interests. A chilling message to this effect was sent early in the campaign when a UNP candidate and an EPDP activist were murdered. Incidents such as this seriously restricted the rights of parties other than the TNA to campaign freely in the North and East .`
The EU monitors concluded: `Overall, it would be fair to conclude that the 2004 elections were largely conducted in a democratic manner, apart from the North and the East. If the election results in the North and the East had been a critical factor in determining who formed the government, it would have raised questions about the legitimacy of the final outcome. The events that took place in this part of Sri Lanka during the course of this election were totally unacceptable and are the antithesis of democracy.` (Emphasis added)
Thus, it may be seen that the election of the TNA MPs was totally undemocratic, according to the EU polls monitors. These TNA MPs, therefore, lack legitimacy as well as any moral right to claim to be people`s representatives. And their participation in an electoral exercise in their present capacity as a group of politicians `returned` by the LTTE through sheer violence and rigging will cause its outcome to lose its legitimacy.