COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan officials have set the first postwar provincial elections in the country's war-torn northern province for Sept. 21, more than four years after the end of the island nation's quarter century civil war.
The announcement of the date Thursday by the Elections Department follows intense international pressure on the government to share power with national ethnic minority Tamils, who make up the majority in the province.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised the international community that maximum powers would be shared with the provinces as he solicited their support to defeat the Tamil Tiger rebels, who were designated by many countries as a terrorist organization. However, Rajapaksa has been criticized for not delivering on his promises.
The rebels fought to create an independent Tamil state in the northern and eastern provinces.