New Parliament meets on happy note
* Unanimous election of Speaker, Deputy Speaker
* Rash of new faces
* Camaraderie between both sides
The inaugural session of the 14th Parliament ceremonially took place
yesterday commencing 8.45 am - the first Parliament to assemble in a Sri
Lanka free of terrorism, in over 30 years.
It was also the first Parliament with a overwhelming presence of
ruling party legislature with the UPFA securing 144 seats of the
A unique feature of the new Parliament was the prolific
representation of youth who were seen somewhat overawed by the
Among them were sports personalities, film stars and artistes.
Chamal Rajapaksa was unanimously elected to the office of the Speaker
of Parliament after his name was proposed by newly appointed Prime
Minister D.M. Jayaratne and seconded by UNP Deputy Leader Karu
Unlike in the first session of the 2004 Parliament the Speaker was
elected unanimously, a far cry from that inaugural session when
proceedings dragged till late in the night until a Speaker was finally
elected by a single vote majority.
The new Speaker was escorted to the Speakerís Chair by Prime Minister
D.M. Jayaratne and UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya.
Immediately after the official oath taking by the newly elected
Speaker before Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Kithulgoda,
members collectively took their oaths. Thereafter with the commencement
of Public Business of the House with the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa
presiding, Priyankara Jayaratne was elected as the Deputy Speaker also
His name was proposed by former Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickramanayaka and seconded by John Amaratunga on behalf of the
In accordance with the Standing Orders of Parliament Nimal Siripala
de Silva proposed Jaffna Parliamentarian Chandrakumar Murugesu for the
office of Deputy Chairman of Committees and he was also unanimously
elected after the proposal was seconded by EPDP leader Douglas Devananda.
There was loud applause from both sides when Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa
informed the House that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was accepted as
Leader of Opposition in the House .
Former Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera was seen in
cordial discussion with new Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne.The newly
elected young members were seen talking in the back rows of the well.
S.B. Dissanayake was seen busy studying some documents seated in the
third row returning to Parliament after six years. Meanwhile Namal
Rajapaksa clad in the traditional family dress including the trade mark
Kurakkan Satakaya was seated in the far back row occupying the seat of
uncle Basil Rajapaksa in the last Parliament. Former Prime Minister
Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka was seated in his usual seat in the front row
of the Government benches next to Nimal Siripala de Silva.
Among the new faces most veteran actress Malani Fonseka. She was seen
being enthusiastically welcomed by ruling party colleagues. The other
new entrant artistes Ranjan Ramanayake and Upeksha Swarnamali were seen
talking to each other in the Opposition benches.
The members were seated randomly until the seats were allotted by the
Speaker for each member at his discretion.
The Public Gallery was filled with invitees and the special guest
among them was First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa.
The Parliament was adjourned for May 04.
Immediately after the Parliament adjourned Mervin Silva was seen
making a beeline towards Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe offering
his greetings and well wishes. He was followed by others. Members were
also seen flocking around the new Prime Minister and out-going Prime
Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka.