Monk, murder suspect, mistress in Sri Lanka’s new parliament
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s new parliament will have a motley collection that will include a monk, a murder suspect, a mistress and even a couple of MPs who once shared the same wife.
The lone Buddhist monk in the new parliament will be Athuraliye Rathana who is piggy-backing on an elephant to re-enter the House this time through the backdoor known as the National List.
The honourable venerable MP’s National Heritage Party has a legacy of going to pieces before and after every vote.
Former UPFA deputy minister Prmalal Jayaratne is in remand custody after being arrested on a murder charge, but he secured the highest number of preferential votes in the Ratnapura district.
His election underscores how undesirables are desirable to a UPFA constituency which in 1997 gave Mahinda Ratnatillake the highest number of votes after he became the main suspect in the murder of MP Nalanda Ellawela.
There are only a dozen or so women in the new parliament, but the TNA is expected to nominate two women from their national list which could increase female representation in the 225-member assebly.
There are four sets of brothers from the same party — Ranjith and Wasantha Aluvihare, Navin and Mayantha Dissanayake from the UNP and and Mahindananda and Ananda Aluthgamage and Mahinda and Chamal Rajapakse from the UPFA.
Arjuna and Prasanna Ranatunga are from rival parties and both could ensure that irrespective of which side does well, the family interests are well take care of.
There are two sets of father-son duos. Mahinda and Namal Rajapakse of the UPFA and Rajitha and Chatura Senaratne from the UNP.
There is a mistress whose trapeze-artiste-cum-politician master failed to return to the new parliament from the national list of the UPFA leaving her sulking in the hallowed halls of parliament.
Daya and Anoma Gamage will be the only husband-and-wife couple without counting elderly actress Geetha Kumarasinghe who has given up the casting couch to lounge in parliament where she has at least one ex-senior minister admirer.
Legal advise prevented mentioning the names of two young MPs who once shared the same wife.
There is also at least one MP from the south who once publicly declared that he had been sexually assaulted by a senior, but refused to press charges, probably hoping to keep the issue dangling.
Jehan Perera - Executive Director National Peace Council