Wajira Abeywardana was sworn in as the United National Party’s (UNP) National List Parliamentarian yesterday (27), while Minister of Education Dr. Susil Premajayantha was appointed as the new Leader of the House and Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga was re-appointed Chief Government Whip.
Abeywardena took oaths before Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. He was elected to Parliament for the first time from Galle District representing the UNP at the 1994 election. Thereon, until 2010, Abeywardana was elected to Parliament at every election from Galle District representing the United National Party. In the 2015 Parliamentary Election, he was elected to Parliament representing the Galle district.
He has worked in the capacity of the Minister of State Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils, and Local Government, and as Minister of State Administration, Management, and Reform Projects. He is currently the Chairman of the United National Party (UNP).
Abeywardana, born in 1961, is an alumnus of Mahinda Vidyalaya, Galle. He also holds a degree in engineering from the University of Moratuwa.
A Gazette Extraordinary was issued on 22 July, appointing Vajira Abeywardena to the UNP’s National List Parliamentary seat left vacant after President Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected to the office of Head of State.
The gazette notification was published by the Election Commission pursuant to the powers conferred by Section 64(5) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, No. 01 of 1981 and the provisions of the Constitution. Last week, Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Dasanayake informed Election Commission Chairman Nimal G. Punchihewa in writing, of a vacancy in the House after Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the President of Sri Lanka.
President Wickremesinghe took oaths before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya at the Parliamentary complex on 21 July. On the same day, he had informed the Secretary General in writing that his resignation was effective from 21 July, as he had assumed duties as the Head of State.
The letters of appointment for the new Leader of the House and Chief Government Whip were handed over by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Prime Minister’s Office in Parliament yesterday morning (27).
The 18th Leader of the House of Parliament of Sri Lanka Dr. Susil Premajayantha was educated at St. John’s College, Nugegoda and is a Law graduate of the University of Colombo. He was sworn in as an attorney at law of the Supreme Court in 1984 and entered politics for the first time in 1991 when he was elected to the Kotte Municipal Council. Premajayantha, who was elected to the Western Provincial Council in 1993, then became the Chief Minister in 1995.
Premajayantha, who entered Parliament in the 2000 General Election, holds the position of Minister of Education in the current government and has previously held the Ministerial portfolios of Technology and Research, Environment, and Renewable Energy, Petroleum Industries, Power, and Energy. He served as the General Secretary of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) for a long time.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, who was appointed as the Chief Government Whip, was serving in the same position before. Ranatunga, who is the Minister of Urban Development and Housing of the current Government, previously served as the Minister of Tourism and Public Security. He is an alumnus of Ananda College in Colombo and has previously served as the Chief Minister of the Western Province.