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Tamils should negotiate with both leading
presidential candidates - Vigneswaran

Former Supreme Court Judge C. V. Vigneswaran, who was under tremendous pressure from the majority Tamil Diaspora to stand for the Presidential election as a common candidate of the Tamils, said the Sri Lankan Tamil community should negotiate with both main presidential candidates and get the maximum benefit before deciding on whom to support.

Vigneswaran in an interview with the Tamil daily, The Sudaroli, yesterday said that fielding a common Tamil candidate or boycotting the election would be tantamount to giving up their democratic rights.

He cited how late Saumyamoorthy Thondaman had used the plantation strike as a weapon to win the rights of his community and Muslim leaders used the influence of affluent Muslim countries to win the rights of their community.

But, he said, in Tamil politics, self-interest took precedence over common interest and that had led to a chaotic situation. "Even if we field a common candidate and vote for him en masse, still it would be a futile exercise, Vigneswaran said.

"If we boycott the election, it will still make no difference and it would only demonstrate that the Tamils have lost their democratic rights," Vigneswaran said.

He endorsed the Tamil National Alliance’s decision to negotiate with the two leading candidates.

Unity among the Tamils was the most powerful weapon. If both Presidential candidates had approximately equal support, Tamil votes would be a deciding factor. Tamils would be kingmakers, Vigneswaran said.

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