99 percent Norway Tamils aspire for Tamil Eelam
In a secret ballot of universal suffrage, conducted by a Norwegian media simultaneously in 14 centres in the length and breath of the country among Eezham Tamils, 98.95 percent of the voters said that they aspire for the formation of an independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam in the North and East of the island of Sri Lanka. The voter turn out was a high 89.8 percent in the capital city of Oslo and an average 80 percent for the country, Utrop biweekly that conducted the ballot said. The ballot gains significance not only in democratically and concretely revealing what the Tamils want, but also in telling that the so-called Oslo Declaration that speaks about internal self-determination is not up to their expectations, Tamil circles said. A couple of days before the ballot, Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim advocated a federal solution to the crisis.
Voters in a long queue at Grorud polling centre in Oslo
The ballot results were announced Monday noon at a press conference conducted by the Utrop newspaper.
Out of 5,633 votes polled, 5,574 votes were in favour of Tamil Eelam and 50 votes went against it. 9 votes were invalid.
The 14 centres, 6 in the major cities and 8 in suburban and remote towns, where Eezham Tamils live in large numbers, were accessible to roughly 7,000 eligible voters aged 18 and above, the multicultural biweekly said.
A chief polling officer, lawyer by profession, handing over the results to the editor-in-chief of Utrop
Cities and towns of Norway where polling booths were organised: 1. Oslo (3 centres: Stovner, Grorud, Bryn), 2. Bergen, 3. Stavanger, 4. Trondheim, 5. Lørenskog, 6. Bø, 7. Florø, 8. Nordfjordeid, 9. Ålesund, 10. Narvik, 11. TromsøAccording to government statistics, a total of 14,431 Sri Lankans, including Tamils as well as Sinhalese live in Norway. Out of them, the number of eligible voters aged 18 and above are 8,797, according to the Statistics Norway (SSB).
The number of Sinhalese in Norway is very small. But, there is no way of differentiating their number in the official statistics. Tamil circles say that there could be roughly 300 eligible Sinhala voters.
The polling centres have covered provinces of 8,267 voters. However, due to remoteness and transportation difficulties, the centres were not accessible to all of them, especially in the provinces. At least around 1,000 eligible voters might have not found the polling centres easily accessible.
The ballot was on ascertaining the current validity of the political fundamentals set by the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution of 1976 that called for the creation of Tamil Eelam. The Resolution that was declared by all the Tamil Political parties was overwhelmingly endorsed by the people of the provinces of the North and East of the island of Sri Lanka in the 1977 general elections.
After 1977, the Tamils were never able to democratically demonstrate the continued validity of this political will of theirs, as the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1979, and later in 1983 the 6th Amendment of the constitution prevented them from expressing secession.
The present ballot taken in Norway has given a unique democratic opportunity to Eezham Tamils after 33 years. The enthusiasm was obvious in the voters who stood in long queues to vote Sunday between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
The statement for the ballot, based on Vaddukkoaddai Resolution was “ I aspire for the formation of the independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka on the basis that the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka make a distinct nation, have a traditional homeland and have the right to self-determination”.
As in a referendum, the voters were asked to say yes or no.
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