Sri Lanka ruling party takes Deputy Speaker post

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ruling United National Party (UNP) had its nominee elected as Deputy Speaker to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Thilanga Sumathipala on Tuesday.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) candidate Sumathipala was forced to resign after he voted against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the April 4 no-confidence motion.

UNP’s Ananda Kumarasiri was elected with 97 votes while the Joint Opposition’s candidate Sudarshini Fernandopulle received 53 votes. The JO stalwarts, led by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, were absent at the time of voting.

Opposition leader R. Sampanthan sought to avoid a secret ballot for the deputy speaker, urging the House to appoint a Deputy Speaker through consensus.

Wickremesinghe said the post of Speaker and the Deputy should be with the government and should the SLFP (section loyal to President Sirisena) nominate a candidate, the UNP would withdraw its nominee.

However, there was no candidate from the SLFP’s Sirisena faction. (COLOMBO, June 5, 2018)

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