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Last updated: 20 March, 2006 - Published 12:13 GMT
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NE local polls postponed
Displaced civilians in Jaffna
Retaining officers have recommended to postpone the polls
The authorities in Sri Lanka have put off the local government elections in the troubled north and eastern districts.

The election commissioner’s department said on Monday that local polls in the region were postponed till 30 September after considering the recommendations sent by retaining officers of the relevant districts.

A statement issued by the department said that elections for 46 local bodies, including two municipal councils, in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mulativu, Vavuniya and Batticaloa districts are postponed.

LTTE participation

But the polls for the local bodies in the eastern Sri Lankan districts of Trincomalee and Ampara are to be held as scheduled on 30 March.

There have been calls by the local politicians and the Tamil Tigers to wait until the security situation improves before calling for elections.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Nadaraja Raviraj told BBC Sandeshaya on Sunday that the LTTE could also take part if the polls are postponed at least until after the second round of talks between the government and the LTTE.

Overall, elections for 69 local bodies will be postponed in many districts due to different reasons.

The department is forced to postpone polls for 23 other local bodies, including the Colombo and Gampaha Municipal Councils, due to legal proceedings.

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