region where a sense of alienation runs deep among ethnic Tamils, who havecomplained of discrimination by the Sinhalese-led government."The TNA victory is undoubtedly a big boost to democracy, but it remains a symbolicsuccess," Charu Lata Hogg, an associate fellow at the Chatham House's AsiaProgramme, told Al Jazeera in an email interview.Four years after government forces defeated the LTTE fighters, a heavy armypresence remains in the region, private land has been appropriated for militarypurposes and reports of human rights violations are rife."How the elections change things on the ground will depend on whether thegovernment will withdraw the army and return the land to the people," SureshPremachandran, a senior TNA leader and member of parliament, told AlJazeera. "About 150,000 army personnel out of the total 200,000 are in [the] NorthernProvince with a population of nearly 1 million," he said. "We will take all actions,including mobilising international support, for the withdrawal of the army."Thousands remain displacedThe government has been criticised for not doing enough to rehabilitate people, asthousands remain in camps with little access to basic amenities. The issue of thethousands of people who disappeared at the end of the war has also remainedunresolved.
Mahinda Rajapaksa talksto Al Jazeera
"We are ready to work for reconciliation, but we have to know the truth about the war.Several thousand people are missing and there is no government mechanism toinvestigate it," Premachandran said. As many as 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the final month of the separatistwar,
, which has been pressuring Sri Lanka for a credibleinvestigation.The election is a hopeful sign for the Tamils, who make up nearly 15 percent of the