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Last updated: 08 March, 2006 - Published 17:16 GMT
 
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EU slams Tigers for polls boycott
 
John Cushnahan with President Rajapaksa (AP photo)
EU strongly criticised the LTTE for enforcing an election boycott
European Union election monitors in Sri Lanka have accused the Tamil Tiger rebels of preventing members of the Tamil community from voting in last November's presidential election.

The monitors say an election boycott was enforced in rebel-held north and east of the island.

The head of the EU mission, John Cushnahan, said that urgent measures were needed to stop the rebels from compromising future elections.

Internationally supervised elections

He added that the LTTE prevented all political parties campaigning in the areas under their control.

“All four elections that I observed, the LTTE have denied the right of all political parties of Sri Lanka to campaign and on several occasions they have denied the right of voters to exercise their franchise,” he told BBC Sandeshaya.

 In all four elections that I observed, the LTTE have denied the right of all political parties of Sri Lanka to campaign
 
John Cushnahan

Mr Cushnahan recommended that future elections should be supervised by an international body to ensure that voters all over Sri Lanka exercise their right to vote.

“That was done in places like South Africa, Cambodia, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Liberia and I think that issue must be addressed now,” he added.

Independant election commission

He also urged the international community to link the human rights issue of the voters when negotiating financial aid to the government and the Tamil Tigers.

The head of the monitoring mission was highly critical that the government has failed to fully implement the 17 amendment to the 1978 constitution.

Cushnahan called upon President Mahinda Rajapaksa and all the political parties in the island to establish the independent Election Commission, one of the key changes in the amendment, without further delay.

“It should have been implemented no later than October 2001, it is not acceptable that it is still not implemented,” he told bbcsinhala.com.

 
 
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