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TNA ‘laughs off’ Rajapakse polls claim

The Tamil National Alliance has laughed off President Rajapakse’s claim that he will hold provincial council elections in September 2013.

“We want to hold elections in September 2013,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa told The Hindu in an interview published on Wednesday.

“We are working towards it [the elections] in a systematic manner.”

Rajapakse blamed the delay on the voting lists, which need to be updated, as the last registers are over 30 years old and most people on the lists are not in the province anymore, according to the president.

He also claimed rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs and detainees need to be completed, a process that has been going on for over 3 years.

However the TNA dismissed his claims as laughable, saying that the party is ready for an election now.

"What is the problem in the government having an election in the Northern Province at this stage now, when it had a Presidential election, a Parliamentary election and a Local government election in the North," TNA spokesman and Jaffna District MP Suresh Premachandran said to The Island, questioning why the government did not highlight the poll register issue during the previous elections.

"The government will not hold the Northern Provincial elections even after September 2013 as it is aware that the TNA will win and that is the last thing that the government wants at this stage,"

Premachandran also pointed out that the army would not be able to hold on the vast tracts of land it had seized in the Jaffna district if the TNA established a Northern Provincial Council.