Sri Lankan Tamil party picks judge as candidate for first vote in north since end of the war

Sri Lanka's leading ethnic Tamil party has picked a retired judge critical of the government as its chief candidate for the first elections to be held in the north of the country since a civil war ended four years ago.

The Tamil National Alliance said Monday it has named retired Supreme Court Judge C.V. Wigneswaran to run for chief minister in the Tamil-majority northern province, once the theatre of a fierce separatist war between government soldiers and ethnic Tamil rebels.

Wigneswaran has been an outspoken critic of the government over alleged human rights violations and anti-democratic moves.

Nominations for the elections close later this month. A date for the vote has not been set, but it is likely to be in September.