Will Ketagoda opt to sit on Fonseka’s seat?
October 22, 2010 06:00 pm
Following the rejection by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) member Lakshman Nipunarachchi to fill the seat which the Secretary General of Parliament has deemed vacant, the next question is who would be willing to fill it.
Following the imprisonment of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who is also the leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) which contested the last General Elections with the JVP as a constituent partner, The Secretary General of Parliament had informed the Elections Commissioner (EC) that Mr. Fonseka had ceased to be a Member of Parliament and that the EC should nominate another from the party to fill the vacancy.
Accordingly, the EC had named JVP’s Nipunaarachchi as he was the next in line on the preferential vote list of the DNA.
However, Mr. Nipunaarachchi declined to fill the vacancy stating that the JVP did not accept the conviction of Mr. Fonseka and hence it did not accept that the seat was vacant.
Sarath Fonseka and Sunil Handunnetti were the elected members from the DNA in the Colombo District, followed by Lakshman Nipunarachchi third on preference and Jayantha Ketagoda coming fourth.
According to the General Election regulations if a Member of Parliament loses his parliamentary seat, then the next person from the same party who received the highest number of preferential votes in the District fills the vacancy thus created.
With Nipunarachchi, in accordance with a party decision had declined the invitation and also personally stating that he would not be filling the vacancy as the seat belonged to Sarath Fonseka and no one else, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told the media that had they filled the Parliamentary seat of the former Army Chief, it would show that they would were giving in and approving of the government’s conduct in imprisoning Mr. Fonseka.
However, there is speculation whether the third next on the Colombo District preferential vote list from the DNA, Jayantha Ketagoda would opt to fill the vacancy, with pressure also mounting that Sarath Fonseka’s wife Anoma be appointed.
After Nipunarachchi, the next in line on the preferential votes list of the DNA Colombo District candidates is former UNP Western Provincial Councilor Jayantha Ketagoda. Mr. Ketagoda received 22,193 preferential votes at the 2010 General Elections.
When Adaderana spoke to Mr. Ketagoda, he said that he had no intention right now to occupy Sarath Fonsekas seat as he and the party had faith on the Sri Lankan judiciary and that they expected a favourable verdict from the courts on Fonseka’s Parliamentary position.
Originally a member of the Opposition United National Party (UNP) Jayantha Ketagoda threw his weight behind Sarath Fonseka during the last Presidential Election, where the UNP itself was a constituent of the ‘Swan alliance’. Following his defeat and since the UNP opted to go it alone at the General Elections, Mr. Ketagoda along with several other UNPers decided to go along with Fonseka’s DNA.
Before entering the political arena from the Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha in 1991 Jayantha Ketagoda was a well known stage, cinema and teledrama actor.