Chaos in the House

Pandemonium reigned in the House yesterday as the newly elected Members of Parliament met to elect the 18th Speaker, of the 13th Parliament.

Spark off point was at around 2.20 pm, after Secretary General of Parliament Priyani Wijesekara. ordered a re-poll due to the first election ending in a tie with the two candidates, UPFAís D.E.W. Gunasekara and UNPís W.J.M. Lokkuban-dara obtaining 108 votes each. One vote was rejected and seven abstained.

Chaos erupted when UNP parliamentarian Chandrani Bandara showed her ballot paper to one of the contestants in the fray for the Speakerís post, W.J.M. Lokkubandara, before casting her vote during the second poll. This was followed by an angry protest from the UPFA benches and several Government MPs were seen walking here and there inside the Chamber casting remarks.

One MP sat on the top of the ballot box as the Sergeant at Arms and Parliamentary officials struggled to maintain order. Rivals traded verbal abuse.

Meanwhile, leaders of the ruling UPFA were seen holding talks with the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leaders inside the parliament, sources said.

An attempt made by the leaders of the JHU to reach a consensus between the UPFA and UNP by withdrawing one party from the Speakerís election was not successful, sources said.

Seven members of the JHUís nine abstained while one MP failed to show up.

The General Secretary called for a meeting of Parliamentary group leaders of all parties to discuss the violation of Parliamentary Standing Orders by some lawmakers in casting their votes. (Proceeding)