The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) says the Tamil community does not need to make a collective stance on who to vote at the upcoming elections, since the manifestos of the two main candidates has made it clear that they have both placed the Sinhalese at the center of the polls.
TCSL Official Spokesman, Elil Rajan in a statement has noted that the proposed policies and manifestos of the two main candidates have made the upcoming polls as being material only to the future well-being of the Sinhalese.
Clarifying their stance with regard to the upcoming Presidential polls, TCSF has pointed out that Tamils suffered greatly under the incumbent President and continues to be abused even presently despite the end of the war, and therefore, the question of Tamil people voting for Rajapaksa does not arise.
However, he has noted that time and again, it has been made clear that regime changes alone would not solve the issues faced by the Tamils since the two main candidates do not seem to even be prepared to discuss a solution that goes beyond the confines of a unitary constitution.
He has pointed out furthermore that both President Rajapaksa and common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena are the same with concern to a political solution and accountability for crimes committed against the Tamils.
The TCSF has noted the following to support their stance:
-Tamil people suffered equally under Westminster style parliamentary form of government: e.g.: implementation of the Sinhala only act in 1956
-Tamils haven’t been accommodated as equal partners in any of Sri Lanka’s constitutional experiments
-It is a minimalist argument to state that the calls for good governance and judicial independence made by the common candidate must be considered basic issues for the Tamils to vote for him because they alone will not be enough.
They have pointed out that although the call to abolish Executive presidency as a stand-alone issue is an important component for a democratic reform, in their opinion the ONLY sustainable path to democratization lies in the creation of a popular discourse that is created by taking a just stand on the national question.
“There are no other alternatives or by-roads to democratization – the Sinhala people and their leaders must realize this,” the statement reads.
Moreover, the TCSF has noted that the common candidate’s pledge to retain the unitary character of the Constitution and not allow international investigations is merely a strategy to win Sinhala Buddhist votes and has stated that its highly indicative of the lack of concern the to even try to appeal to Tamil votes.
“To explicitly call for a vote for either of the main candidates therefore will be tantamount to accepting a unitary constitution and reject an international investigation,” the TCSF has noted adding that Tamils should collectively devise a political program that would fulfill their aspirations and mobilize themselves around a program, which, irrelevant of who comes to power in the South would enable them to press ahead the political program to win their rights.