File photo: Manivannan Visvalingam (Facebook)
Former Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) member Visvalingam Manivannan, was elected as Jaffna mayor, in a closely contested mayoral election, last Wednesday.
Former mayor Emmanuel Arnold, member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), finished second by securing one vote less than attorney Manivannan.
Manivannan secured 21 votes in the assembly consisting of 45 members and assumed office as the 23rd mayor of Jaffna. Arnold, a member of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK)/TNA won 20 votes - 14 votes from TNA members and six from other party members.
Eleven members from the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) and 10 from the TNPF voted for Manivannan, giving him an aggregate of 21.
TNPF leader, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam confirmed that Mannivannan was removed from the party prior to the mayoral elections, due to his alliance with EPDP. “Many people asked us whether the reason for us expelling him from the party was due to us being threatened by Mannivannan’s influence. However, we state this clearly - that we removed him on the basis that he has been working closely with parties that are race-traitors.”
He also insisted that those who helped Manivannan win the mayoral elections, commited a “betrayal” to the party. “The pictures of Manivannan hugging the race-traitor, Douglas Devananda do not come as a surprise to us. 10 people of the 13 who voted are shaking hands with Douglas Devananda and as such will be removed from our party very soon.”