Breakaway Rebel Faction May Turn to Electoral Politics

A rebel group that broke away from the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka opened an office in the capital Colombo with the aim of eventually contesting elections under the name TMVP (Tamileela Makkal Viduthalai Puligal). Provincial council elections will be held in 2009 and the next general elections in 2010.

Karuna split from the Tigers in early 2004 with some 6,000 fighters. But most either returned to civilian life or rejoined the Tigers, and his force is now estimated to number a few hundred at most. The Tigers have accused the government army of helping the group, 6,000-strong and led by renegade commander Col. Karuna, carry out attacks against them in eastern Sri Lanka. President Mahinda Rajapakse refusal to disarm the Karuna group led to the collapse of peace talks between the government and the Tigers in early 2006.

Ranga Sirilal, “Breakaway Sri Lanka Rebels Set Sights on Elections,” Reuters AlertNet, 9 August 2006.