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Secret ballot underway in Sri Lanka parliament to elect deputy speaker

ECONOMYNEXT – A secret ballot is currently under way in Sri Lanka’s parliament to elect a deputy speaker between two nominees.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), a former ruling coalition partner now that functions independently in parliament though with ongoing talks with the government, has nominated MP Ranjith Siyambalapitiya for the position. Siyambalapitiya, who previously  held the position, resigned on April 05 but temporarily withdrew his resignation three days later.

Siyambalapitiya stepped down once again on April 30, and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa accepted the resignation on May 03.

The ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has said it will support the election of Siyambalapitya as deputy speaker again. His name was proposed by SLFP parliamentarian Nimal Siripala de Silva and was seconded by SLPP chairman Prof G L Peiris.

The main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) meanwhile has nominated MP Imitiaz Bakeer Makar for the post of deputy speaker. Bakeer Makar’s father once served as speaker of parliament.

SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella objected to a directive by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena for MP’s to place their signature on their ballot paper, noting that doing so would render the supposedly “secret” vote meaningless. The speaker, however, said it was standard procedure, as per parliament standing orders.

The secret ballot is now under way.

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