*General Election on April 8
*New Parliament meets on April 22
President Mahinda Rajapaksa dissolved Parliament with effect from
midnight yesterday under the powers vested in him under Article 70 (1)
of Chapter 11 of the Constitution.
The present Parliament was elected in April 2004 defeating the then
UNP regime led by Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The Parliament completes its tenure of six years in April this year.
The UPFA came to power after defeating the UNP with 105 seats and the
UNP winning only 82 seats. The Tamil National Alliance had 22 seats
while the Jathika Hela Urumaya had nine seats. That election had a voter
turnout of 75 percent.
The UPFA at the last General Election received 4,223,970 ( 45.60
percent) votes, UNP received 3,504, 200 (37.83 percent) while TNA
received 633,654 (6.84 percent) and JHU 554,076 (5.97 percent) votes.
The UPFA comprised the LSSP, CP, DUNF, MEP, SLMP and JVP in that
But after President Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected in November 2005 he
sought the co-operation of the main opposition party, the UNP in
defeating terrorism. Accordingly, 17 UNP Parliamentarians including
party Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya joined the Government.
During the vote on the Budget in November 2007, the main Opposition
party (the UNP) made efforts to defeat the Budget in Parliament.
For the first time in the history of Parliament over a thousand extra
chairs were placed behind the Public Gallery to accommodate a very large
number of people, said to be UNP supporters who came in during the time
the vote on the Budget was taken. Amidst the tension in the House
rumours were afloat that the JVP would vote against the Budget.
Anura Bandaranaike crossed over to the Opposition but when the vote
was taken the Budget was passed.
After President Mahinda Rajapaksa made the decision to defeat the
LTTE terrorists, Parliament continued to support the President’s policy
with the exception of those UNP members in the Opposition, the TNA and a
few individual dissenters.
It is likely that the election will be held on April 8 and the new
Parliament will meet on April 22,2010.