The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) would certainly want the maximum exercise of power, should it lead Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council (NPC) following the elections slated for September, its members have said.

TNA leader R. Sampanthan said in regard to the people of the north and east affected by the war, the Alliance had endeavoured to avoid an attitude of confrontation with the government and had offered to cooperate. Addressing the Foreign Correspondents’ Association recently, Mr. Sampanthan said the TNA would work with the government to provide the people with proper housing and livelihood and an opportunity to recommence life.

M.A. Sumanthiran, TNA MP, said the real issue was the extent of executive power the Governor would be willing to share with the Board of Ministers. “Under the Constitution, the entirety of the executive powers of the province is vested with the Governor. So there will have to be certain negotiation in accordance with the people’s democratic wish and expectations.”

The Board of Ministers, he said, must have sufficient executive powers to carry out their own programmes on economy, job creation, agriculture and fisheries.

Observing that the TNA has offered to work with the government, Mr. Sampanthan said: “We have clearly told the President that if he works with the TNA, being the democratically elected representative of the Tamil people, more funds will be available for rehabilitation and resettlement work in the north.”

TNA’s participation would give the process a greater measure of credibility and the diaspora would also be prepared to be involved in a big way, he said.

Though the TNA faced the threat of a split recently — with some of the constituent parties accusing the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi of dominating — the Alliance has stayed together for the battle at the NPC elections that are likely to be held this September.

Political commentators in Sri Lanka say the TNA is quite likely to win the polls, considering the support it has in the north that has a majority of Tamils, and also the absence of any other strong alternative Tamil party.