The Northern Province is one of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka. The provinces have existed since the 19th century but did not have any legal status until 1987 when the 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka established provincial councils. Between 1988 and 2006 the province was temporarily merged with the Eastern Province to form the North Eastern Province. The capital of the province is Jaffna. The Sri Lankan Civil War had its roots in this province. It is also known as Sri Lanka’s Tamil country.
The Jaffna Municipal Council governs the City of Jaffna. It was established under the Municipalities Ordinance Act of 1865. Although other cities such as Kandy, Galle and Colombo had elected municipal councils soon after the 1865 ordinance, Jaffna did not have an elected municipal council for many years. This reflected the desire of the British bureaucrats to govern the city directly rather than share power with a highly literate electorate. The first elected mayor was Cathiravelu Ponnambalam. Number of subsequent mayors were assassinated such as Alfred Duraiappah, Sarojini Yogeswaran and Pon Sivapalan.There were 15 years without elections since 1983.
The post civil war elections were held in 2009 after a gap of 11 years. The municipal council consists of 29 members. As the original municipal council building was destroyed during the civil war, a new building is to be constructed for the current municipal council in 2011.
Jaffna District is one of the 25 administrative districts of Sri Lanka. The district is administered by a District Secretariat headed by a District Secretary (previously known as a Government Agent) appointed by the central government of Sri Lanka. The headquarters is located in Jaffna city.
Jaffna District is located in the far north of Sri Lanka in the Northern Province and occupies most of the Jaffna Peninsula. It has an area of 1,025 square kilometres (396 sq mi). It is divided into four areas geographically:
- Thenmarachchi or Thenmaradchi
- Vadamarachchi or Vadamaradchi
- Jaffna Islands
Jaffna District is divided into 15 Divisional Secretary’s Division (DS Divisions), each headed by a Divisional Secretary (previously known as an Assistant Government Agent). The DS Divisions are further sub-divided into 435 Grama Niladhari Divisions (GN Divisions).
- Vadamarachchi East /Maruthankerney
- Vadamarachchi North/Point Pedro
- Vadamarachchi South West/Karaveddy 518
- Valikamam East/Kopay
- Valikamam North/Tellippalai
- Valikamam South/Uduvil
- Valikamam South West/Sandilipay
- Valikamam West/Chankanai
Jaffna District has 17 local authorities of which one is a Municipal Council, three are Urban Councils and the remaining 13 are Divisional Councils (Pradeshiya Sabha or Pradesha Sabhai).
- Chavakacheri Divisional Council
- Chavakacheri Urban Council
- Delft Divisional Council
- Jaffna Municipal Council
- Karainagar Divisional Council
- Kayts Divisional Council
- Nallur Divisional Council
- Point Pedro Divisional Council
- Point Pedro Urban Council
- Vadamarachchi South West Divisional Council
- Valikamam East Divisional Council
- Valikamam North Divisional Council
- Valikamam South Divisional Council
- Valikamam South West Divisional Council
- Valikamam West Divisional Council
- Valvettithurai Urban Council
- Velanai Divisional Council