Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Matara district MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the ninth Parliament of Sri Lanka today.
The ruling SLPP and the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) acted in unison in this regard.
His name was proposed by Leader of the House and Minister Dinesh Gunawardene and seconded by SJB MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara.
They both ushered Mr. Abeywardene into the Chair in keeping with parliamentary traditions. He is the 12th Speaker of Sri Lanka. He was first elected to Parliament after winning the by-election for the Hakmana electorate in the Matara district representing the United National Party (UNP).
In 1987, he quit Parliament protesting the Indo-Lanka accord. Later, he started doing politics with the Democratic United National Front founded by the then Minister the late Lalith Athulathmudali. He was elected to the Southern Provincial Council in 1993 representing that party and became its chairman.
He became the chief minister after Amarasiri Dodangoda who held the position was elected to Parliament at the 1994 general election. He contested the 2001 general elections and served as an opposition MP till 2004.
After the 2004 General elections, he became the deputy minister of Healthcare and later the Cabinet Minister for Cultural Affairs & National Heritage. After 2010, he was also appointed Agriculture Minister.
In the last Parliament, he was one of the 52 members who pledged support to present Prime Mahinda Rajapaksa and sat in the opposition under the banner of the Joint Opposition.
“I hope to make the role of Parliament more productive, strong and to strive towards maintaining its independence. I expect the support of all MPs in this regard and to make the committees in the House more effective and efficient. I need your participation and support in achieving these goals and state that this cooperation of yours in this regard is essential and will contribute to make this assembly more useful and productive,” Mr. Abeywardene said after being appointed to the Speaker’s post .
“Thank you for placing trust in me and the responsibility vested in me. I assure you that I will do my utmost to fulfil this responsibility. I wish to turn this House into one which will be responsible to the people. I ask for your active support to perform this task,” he added.
“It is a privilege to be appointed as the Speaker of this House at a time when the country is striving to revive the economy and bring in development in an era where the COVID-19 Pandemic is being controlled. We are living at a time of political transformation. Let all the MPs strive towards maintaining the county’s identity through the unity which this House exhibits through its diversity,” he also said. (Yohan Perera)