Sri Lanka's Speaker's election delayed due to shortage of ballot papers
[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 April 2004, 10:50 GMT]
Ms Priyani Wijesekara, Secretary General of Sri Lanka parliament Thursday afternoon ordered the Government Printer to send two sets of ballot papers to parliament to replenish her stocks so that fourth round of poll to the post of Speaker can be conducted. Meanwhile Ms.Wijesekara, Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse and the leader of the opposition Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe are locked in serious discussion to resolve the crisis in conducting Speaker's election, parliamentary media sources said.
The agitation by UPFA parliamentarians came to an end later in the afternoon and took to their seats abandoning their sit-in-protest surrounding the Speaker's Chamber against the action of an opposition woman parliamentarian showing her ballot paper to a contestant of the Speaker's election which according to parliamentary sources is contradictory to standing orders, sources said.
When the Secretary General was about to conduct the fourth re-poll, it was brought to her notice that there was shortage for ballot papers to be distributed to parliamentarians, sources said.
Ms Priyani Wijesekara immediately contacted the Government Printer and asked him to send two sets of ballot papers to the parliamentary complex to continue the re-poll, parliamentary sources said.
In the meantime, the Secretary General has been holding talks with Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse and Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe to resolve the crisis, sources said.
Parliamentary sources said secret vote to elect a Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament was last held seventeen years ago.