The government's plan to hold the first elections at the provincial level post-war is seen as a first step towards achieving a political solution to the ethnic Tamil question. Though people in the northern province voted both in 2009 Presidential and the general elections next year, the Northern Provincial Council has not yet been constituted even three years after the end of the decades-old war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Sri Lanka's powerful Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is also the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, attributed the delay in holding elections to the continuing process of resettlement of displaced people in the northern region, the worst-affected in the war.
"We are in the process of preparing the electoral rolls of people in the northern region. The process is expected to be completed by June, 2013. After that we plan to hold elections by September next year," he told visiting Indian journalists here.
People in the northern region have been looking forward to the elections to the Northern Provincial Council and even India has been pushing Sri Lanka to conduct elections at the earliest. President Rajapaksa had also assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month that his government was preparing to hold elections by next year.