Inaugural session of 9th Parliament today

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The first sitting of the 9th Parliament is scheduled to commence at 9.30 am this morning (20) to elect the Speaker in accordance with Standing Order No. 1 of Parliament.

All the new Members of Parliament (MPs) will subsequently take their official oaths or affirmation before the new Speaker. This will be followed by the appointment of a Deputy Speaker and a Deputy Chairperson of Committees.

The official oath or affirmation is expected to be taken either in Sinhala, Tamil or English and the relevant documents prepared in the respective language will be placed on the Chamber table.

Later on, the inaugural session of the 9th Parliament will be ceremonially declared open by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the afternoon.

The Communications Department of the Parliament said, under the instructions of the President, arrangements were made to welcome his arrival at the Parliament in a very simple and charm manner. As gun salutes or vehicle parades are not to be carried out, the President will be greeted with only a cultural pageant.

The invited dignitaries are scheduled to arrive at 02.15 pm and the Members of Parliament will be the first to arrive at the premises.

Subsequent to the arrival of the new Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will grace the event, followed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The new Speaker of Parliament and the Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake will receive President Rajapaksa at the main steps of the Parliament Building.

The President will be accompanied to the House of Parliament by the Serjeant-at-Arms, Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms, Assistant Serjeant-at-Arms followed by the Speaker of Parliament and the Secretary General of Parliament. The students of Devi Balika Vidyalaya Colombo will line up for the recital of Jayamangala Gatha at the main entrance of the Parliament Building in welcoming the President, the Communications Department said further.

The President will then present the Government’s Policy Statement at 3.00 pm, as provided by Article 33(2) of the Constitution.

A Proclamation was published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2165/8 dated 02nd of March 2020, inter alia dissolving the Parliament with effect from midnight of 02nd March 2020, and fixing the date for the Election of Members of Parliament to be the 25th day of April 2020 and fixing the date for the new Parliament to meet to be the 14th day of May 2020.

However, consequent to COVID-19 Pandemic, the Election Commission, acting in terms of Section 24(3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, No. 1 of 1981, by Gazette Notification No. 2179/17 dated 10th June 2020, notified that the Election for electing the Members of Parliament will be held on 05th of August, 2020.

By virtue of the powers vested in him by Article 70(1) of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to be read with Sub-paragraph (c) of Paragraph (2) of Article 33 of the said Constitution, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa summoned the new Parliament to meet on the 20th of August, 2020.

At the General Election 2020, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the ruling party led by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, gained an unprecedented victory by clinching 6.85 million votes. The SLPP managed to win the supermajority in the House by securing 145 parliamentary seats in total, including 17 National List seats.

The SJB, which became the main Opposition after obtaining more than 2.77 million votes, won 47 parliamentary seats in the election while clinching 07 National List seats.

Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) which ranked third in the polls obtained 09 seats and 01 National List seat. Accordingly, the party is entitled to 10 seats in the parliament.

Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) has gained a total of 3 parliamentary seats, one of them being a National List seat.

Ahila Ilankai Thamil Congress (AITC) has obtained one National List seat, thereby, accounting for 2 seats at the new parliament.

Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) has won 2 parliamentary seats at the polls. However, has not been allocated a National List seat.

Both United National Party (UNP) and Our Power of People Party (OPPP) have each been allocated a National List seat. Neither party had secured a parliamentary seat at the polls.

Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Muslim National Alliance (MNA), Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani (TMTK), All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), National Congress, and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) have all won one seat each.

After securing the two-thirds majority in the Parliament from its unrivalled election victory, the ruling party elected 28 Ministers to the new Cabinet and they were sworn in at the Magul Maduwa (Audience Hall) of the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy on August 12. In addition, 39 state ministers were also appointed and sworn in on the same day.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Defence was brought under the purview of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was re-elected to the position, was assigned the Finance Ministry and Urban Development & Housing Ministry and the Buddha Sasana, Religious & Cultural Affairs Ministry.

In the meantime, the inaugural meeting of the new Cabinet of Ministers took place on Wednesday (19) at the Presidential Secretariat, under the patronage of the President.