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Parliamentary seat declared vacant following Supreme Court ruling ousting Diana Gamage

May 09, Colombo (LNW): The Secretary-General of Parliament has officially notified the Election Commission of a vacancy in the Ninth Parliament, effective from 8th May 2024.

The above vacancy appears following the cancellation of the parliamentary seat held by MP Diana Gamage.

This information was formally communicated to the Chairman of the Election Commission in writing, in accordance with Section 64(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No. 01 of 1981, a press statement issued by the Communication Department of Parliament said.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday (08) ruled that State Minister Diana Gamage does not meet the legal requirements to hold a parliamentary seat.

In its verdict, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court determined that Gamage, due to her dual citizenship status, is ineligible to serve as a Member of Parliament.

Meanwhile, former Member of Parliament Mujibur Rahman of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) is set to be nominated to occupy the vacant parliamentary seat, according to Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa.

Gamage’s ousting brought heat within the Chambers, with ruling party members previously sitting with her questioning the legitimacy of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the political party which serves as the main Opposition in Parliament, due to it being handed over to the renegades of the United National Party (UNP) four years ago.

Gamage, being a British citizen, as proven before Court of Law, does not fill the requirement to serve as an MP in the Parliament of Sri Lanka, hence the argument brought against the existence of the SJB and the MPs serving the Party by several Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) members due to her contribution to the now Premadasa-led party.

Members of the ruling party SLPP argued in Parliament that there is likelihood that the legitimacy of the SJB could be challenged before Court of Law.

However, Mahinda Deshapriya, former Chief of the Election Commission, clarified that there is no legal impediment for non-citizens to establish a political party in Sri Lanka.

He emphasised that Sri Lankan law specifically prohibits non-citizens from holding a seat in Parliament or contesting Sri Lankan elections, as well as from participating in the voting process, but Gamage did not endorse the nomination papers of the SJB and had never served as the general secretary of the ‘Ape Jathika Peramuna‘, the SJB’s predecessor name.

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