War-scarred Sri Lankan Tamils see hope as they vote in election
AFFNA, Sri Lanka (AP) - Ethnic Tamil voters in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north went to the polls on Saturday to form their first functioning provincial government, hoping it is the first step toward wider regional autonomy after decades of peaceful struggle and a bloody civil war.
The elections are expected to give them a limited say in their own affairs - a taste of democracy after years under rebel or military control.
The elections are seen by the United Nations and the world community as a crucial test of reconciliation between the Tamils and majority ethnic Sinhalese, who control the government and the military.
The country's ethnic divisions widened with the quarter-century civil war that ended in 2009, when government troops crushed the Tami Tiger rebels who fought to create an independent state.