COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Tamils in Sri Lanka seem to be boycotting the island nation's presidential election as not a single member in the separatist areas had voted as of Thursday.
International election observers told the Financial Times no one had come to vote at the booths set up near areas in the disputed north of the country. Those areas were formerly controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam separatist group.
Earlier this month, the LTTE, which has been fighting for a separate homeland for two decades, told Tamils not to vote for either of the two front-runners, Mahinda Rajapakse and Ranil Wickremesinghe. The group says neither will serve the interests of the Tamils.
Rajapakse, a candidate of the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance, is currently the prime minister. Wickremesinghe is the leader of the main opposition United National party. The winner will replace the outgoing Chandrika Kumaratunga who has to step down under the constitution after serving two terms. Tamils make up 15 percent of the country's 20 million population.