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Last updated: 11 May, 2008 - Published 13:42 GMT
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'I am eligible' says Pillayan
Pillayan (photo Swaminathan Natarajan)
TMVP leader says the group will carry arms until their security is guaranteed
The leader of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) says he is eligible for the Chief Minister post in the east as he has got the highest preferential votes.

Pillayan told Sivaramakrishnan Parameswaran of BBC Tamil Service that his group will not lay down arms until such time his security is guaranteed by the authorities.

"We will have to use the weapons until we defeat terrorism," the former member of the LTTE, described by the authorities as "terrorists", said.

 We will have to use the weapons until we defeat terrorism
TMVP leader, Pillayan

The TMVP leader, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, has secured 41,936 preferential votes ahead of the other CM hopeful MLAM Hisbullah, who has secured 35,949 preferential votes, according to media reports.

The ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) General Secretary, Minister Susil Premjayanth, told media last week that the alliance agreed to offer the post to the ethnic community that secures most of the councillors.

Minister supports Hisbullah

The unofficial results indicate that more Muslim councillors were elected than Tamil councillors for the Eastern Provincial Council.

President Rajapaksa (L) with MLAM Hisbullah
Muslim ministers have voiced support to Mr. Hisbullah to become CM

If the government abide by the earlier pledge, Mr. Hisbullah, who crossed over to the government from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) days before the nominations, should be appointed as the CM.

A Muslim government minister has also expressed his support to the regional Muslim leader.

Minister Najeeb A Majeed told journalist Swaminathan Natarajan of BBC Tamil Service in Trincomalee that Mr. Hisbulla is more experienced to hold a public office.

“He has hold many public offices including being a minister. And he has a very good record of working for the Tamil and Muslim unity,” the minister said.

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