SLMC takes East CM’s post amidst Kalmunai turmoil


by Shamindra Ferdinando

SLMC Eastern Provincial Councillor Hafiz Nazeer Ahamed yesterday succeeded M.N. Abdul Majeed as the Chief Minister of the council.

SLMC leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem went ahead with Ahamed’s appointment in spite of protests by a small group of supporters.

The appointment was made in accordance with an understanding between the SLMC and the SLFP.

The SLFP agreed to share five-year term of the Eastern Provincial Council two and half years each with the SLMC in return for the latter’s support at the council.

The 37-member EPC comprises UPFA (14 slots including two bonus seats), TNA (11), SLMC (7), UNP (4) and National Freedom Front (1).

SLMC leader last night confirmed to The Island the appointment made by him.

SLMC General Secretary and Deputy Minister Hassen Ali said that Hakeem suspended EPC member A.M. Jameel from the party membership as well as all positions held by him consequent to him opposing Ahamed’s appointment.

Jameel led a protest at Sainthamaruthu in Kalmunai on Friday demanding the party to cancel the appointment.

The police thwarted an attempt by some of the demonstrators to burn an effigy of Hakeem.

The first EPC poll was held in May 2008 after the liberated the Eastern Province. However, the TNA refrained from contesting at the behest of the LTTE. One-time LTTE commander Chandrakanthan alias Pilleyan functioned as the Chief Minister of the first EPC. In spite of being forced out of the Eastern Province, the LTTE remained strong in the Vanni at the time of the first EPC poll.

Political sources recollected the TNA offering the post of the CM to the SLMC if it was prepared to form an administration jointly with the TNA and the UNP. However, the SLMC accepted the SLFP offer to share the CM’s post two and half years each.

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