Aug 20, 2020

9th Parliament begins today : No Chief Opp. Whip yet

The ceremonial opening of the 9th Parliament will commence today (20) at 3.00 pm under the patronage of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The president has instructed to hold no gun salutes or vehicle parades to welcome him. Accordingly, only a cultural pageant will take place to greet the president.

The Head of State will then deliver the Government’s Policy Statement according to provisions in Article 33(2) of the Constitution.

Prior to the ceremonial opening of the first session of the Ninth Parliament will take place at 9.30am. During this morning’s first sitting of the new Parliament, members will elect the new Speaker in accordance with Standing Order No. 1 of Parliament.

All new Members of Parliament will then take their official oaths or affirmation before the new Speaker. The official oath or affirmation is allowed to be administered in any of the three languages Sinhala, Tamil or English as per the Standing Orders of Parliament.

This will be followed by the appointment of a Deputy Speaker and a Deputy Chairperson of Committees.

No Chief Opposition Whip yet!

Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya - Ranjith Madduma Bandara says that a MP will be nominated today (20) for the post of Chief Opposition Whip.

The leadership council of the SJB headed by Sajith Premadasa will meet at the party headquarters in Ethul Kotte today (20) to take a final decision in this regard, he said.

He further says that a group including Patali Champika Ranawaka, Dr. Harsha de Silva, Kabir Hashim and Lakshman Kiriella have been nominated for the post of Chief Opposition Whip and that a workshop was held in Colombo on how the SJB MPs should conduct themselves in Parliament.

No 'Grand Old Party' in parliament!

Meanwhile, the United National Party, which is the oldest prominent political party in the country, will not be represented at today's maiden session as their sole National List MP seat remains vacant.

This is the first time the UNP is not represented in parliament since the party was founded in 1947.

15 political parties

The number of political parties being represented in Parliament has increased from 06 to 15.

At the recently concluded General election, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna secured a landslide win with 145 MP seats.

81 first timers... youth percentage at 11%

The 9th parliament includes 81 first time MPs. However, the youth percentage is at 11%.

It is singular that there are only 25 MPs aged between 25 - 40 years in Parliament.

Minister Jeewan Thondaman, born on Nov. 09, 1994, is the youngest MP of the 9th parliament as well as the youngest minister.

The youngest cabinet minister is Namal Rajapaksa - minister of Sports and Youth Affairs.

103 MPs over 50 yrs

There are 67 MPs in the 51- 60 age group while 37 MPs in the 61-70 age group. In addition, there are 09 MPs in the 71-80 age group.

Vasudeva Nanayakkara, CV Wigneswaran and R. Sampanthan are the three MPs in the age group of 81-90 years.

Female representation

The female representation of the 9th Parliament stands at 5.3% with just 12 female MPs.

Pillayan & Choka Malli to attend parliament

Meanwhile, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias 'Pillayan' and Premalal Jayasekara alias 'Choka Malli', who was elected from the districts of Batticaloa and Ratnapura respectively, will arrive at today's inaugural session from prison, where they are currently held under remand custody.

Two MPs from the 225-seat parliament will be missing as the UNP and the Ape Jana Bala Pakshaya are yet to name their National List MPs.

No seats will be alloted for MPs during the inaugural session. Seats are only reserved for the president and the Prime Minister.

11th Speaker

Matara district Parliament-elect Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena is expected to become the Speaker of the Ninth Parliament of Sri Lanka.

During yesterday’s Parliamentary group meeting of the government, members have agreed to propose the name of Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena as the next Speaker.

Names of Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Angajan Ramanathan will be proposed for the posts of Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairperson of Committees.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said a secret vote will be held to elect the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairperson of Committees of the new Parliament if more than one name was proposed for the respective posts.

Minister of External Affairs  - Dinesh Gunawardena and Minister of Highways - Johnston Fernando will be appointed as the Leader of the House and Chief Government Whip respectively at today's inaugural session.