Oct 03, Colombo: A special Sitting of Parliament was held today (Oct 03rd) to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Parliamentary Democracy in Sri Lanka.
At the commencement of Public Business, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the opposition in Parliament moved a Vote to recognize the occasion of the special sitting.
"That this Parliament at its meeting today commemorates with pride the 70th anniversary of its first meeting as an independent Parliament and notes that Parliament of Sri Lanka is the oldest Parliament elected by universal adult franchise in the Asia region with an unbroken record of democratic governance and wishes for itself and the people of Sri Lanka a prosperity, development and further strengthening of democratic traditions, principles and rule of law," it said.
The speeches began with the President Maithripala Sirisena and was followed with speeches by the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella, Chief Government Whip Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka, Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake, and the leaders of the recognized political parties in Parliament. The Speaker Karu Jayasuriya delivered the Vote of Thanks.
Speakers of the Parliaments of the SAARC countries who are in Sri Lanka to participate in the 8th conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians were present at the Speaker's Gallery to witness the occasion.
The first Parliament in Sri Lanka, known as "House of Representatives", met for the first time on the 14th of October 1947 at the State Council building (Old Parliament Building) in Colombo. It consisted of 101 Members, of which 95 were elected by universal suffrage and 6 were nominated by the Governor-General.
The First Parliament of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was bicameral consisting of two chambers known as the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate was abolished in 1971 and the House of Representatives was replaced with the unicameral National State Assembly in 1972 when the first republican constitution was enacted.
With the promulgation of the second republican constitution on 7th of September 1978, the First Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka superseded the Second National State Assembly.