Sri Lanka film star’s legislator hopes dimmed

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s film actress Geetha Kumarasinghe’s maiden bid to enter parliament could have been scuttled by the 19th amendment to the constitution which prevents holders of dual nationality becoming legislators.

Any disqualification of Kumarasinghe will not affect the entire list of candidates from Galle, but it was up to the Secretary General of Parliament to keep her out of the House an official said.

"We have already gazetted her name as a member of parliament, but under the 19th amendment, clearly a person who holds nationality of another countrty cannot become an MP or even have the right to vote," a top election commision official said.

He said at the time nomination papers were received, the election commissioner could act strictly on the basis on the Parliamentary Elections Act Number 1 of 1981 which had not been updated in line with the 19th amendment signed into law in May 2015.

The SLFP announced yesterday that they were consulting legal opinion on Kumarasinghe’s position, but election officials said it if she could not be a member of parliament they were ready to appoint a replacement.

Kumarasinghe’s nationality was declared by her in an interview with the then ruling party-controlled Sunday Observer. She announced that she was a Swiss national and that was one of her main qualifications to become the chief minister of the Southern Province.

Kumarasinghe was not available for comment.

Officials said even if Kumarasinghe renounced her Swiss nationality subsequently, they would consider that she was disqualified at the time of the August 17 2015 poll to be elected. (Colombo/Aug29/2015)

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