Sri Lanka actress faces court drama over double acting

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan actress-turned-politician Geetha Kumarasinghe was today noticed to appear in court in response to allegations that she holds dual citizenship that would prevent her from remaining a member of parliament.

The Court of Appeal asked Kumarasinghe, 60, to be in court on October 19 following a challenge to her election in violation of the 19th amendment to the constitution which prohibits dual nationals from holding any elected office.

Kumarasinghe who was elected as a member of the United People’s Freedom Alliance is a Swiss national according to several recent newspaper interviews she herself had given.

Following questions after her election, Kumarasinghe said she had written a letter to the Swiss embassy in Colombo asking them to revoke her Swiss nationality.

However, diplomatic sources said she could not write a letter renouncing her Swiss nationality, but was required to follow a process which involved getting the consent from her Swiss husband.

The 19th amendment to the constitution bars "a citizen of Sri Lanka who is also a citizen of any other country" from holding elected office in the island.

Another UPFA candidate from Matara district, Manoj Prasanga Hewagampalage (son of H. G. Sirisena), is reportedly an Australian citizen and his candidacy was challenged by the JVP.

However, the Matara returning officer maintained that since the election was being conducted under the parliamentary elections act of 1981 and provisions of the 19th amendment were yet to be incorporated into it, he could not reject the UPFA list.

The returning officer, however, noted that anyone could go to court after the election and challenge the inclusion of a dual citizen in the UPFA list.

Manoj was not elected and his candicay is yet to be challenged.

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Kumarasinghe’s website did not give her nationality, but according to her biography she "entered into marriage with Mr Chris Fuhrer Ferdinand (Swiss national)  and has a beautiful daughter, Tharika Fiona Fuhrer." (Colombo/Sept27/2015)

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