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In considering the strategies of Tamil parties with regard to the forthcoming election, one needs to look back too at what transpired during the Presidential election. The results of that have been used to argue that the strategy employed by the TNA worked brilliantly. They have been able to claim that the North and East voted against President Rajapakse, as did Nuwara Eliya, which suggests that Sri Lanka is polarized along ethnic lines. Thus they can once more declare that they have received a mandate for Tamil Eelam, and continue to conduct politics in line with the commands of the shadowy forces abroad who financed Mr Prabhakaran and encouraged his intransigence.

What this will mean in reality though is continuing attrition, with the Tamil people not being permitted to play their full part in the Sri Lankan body politic. The TNA contention, or rather the contention of its current extremist leadership, as exemplified by the pronouncements of its cheerleaders abroad, would be that this will help in the achievement of their ultimate goal, a separate state. The local claim that full autonomy, on the lines of the ISGA they nearly obtained in 2003, will suffice, and that nothing further will be agitated for, is of course at odds with all practical experience as to the way such autonomous entities fall prey to adventurism, internal as well as external, as we saw so graphically with Kosovo.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

March 2010
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