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Sri Lanka’s Election Commissioner reveals lack of Tamil speakers in election roles

The chair of Sri Lanka’s Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya revealed that a lack of Tamil speakers hired by the government for election roles led to a “serious hindrance” to the electoral process last week.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mr Deshapriya said there was a severe lack of Tamil speakers at district election offices and at the Government Printer.

"We have been telling successive governments about this issue,” The Island quoted him as saying. “For example, there are no Tamil proof readers at the Government Printer and we wanted to send the names of candidates appointed for each ward to voters and we realized, halfway through, that there is no one to proof read the list.”

“There is also not a single Tamil speaker attached to the Gampaha District election office although there are substantial Tamil speaking populations in places like Wattala, Thihariya, Kelaniya, etc.," he added.

The Daily News quoted Mr Deshapriya as lamenting the chronic lack of government action on the issue.

“We have highlighted this problem for a long time now,” he said. “But very little action has been taken.”