Sri Lanka votes for a new president on Thursday in an election that centers on two key issues: how to forge lasting peace with the Tamil Tiger rebels and how to bolster the island’s economy.
Keheliya Rambukwella, Sri Lanka’s defence spokesman, said the emergency powers were still needed to ward off fighters from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who could still present a threat.
The government declared on May 18 that its forces had crushed the rebel group, killing Velupillai Prabhakaran, the LTTE leader, and many of his commanders, ending decades of civil war.
The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil population.
“Although the ground level war is over, there are remnants of terrorism,” Rambukwella said.
Emergency rule in Sri Lanka has been in place intermittently for most of the past 30 years.