- SLPP MP convicted of murder can attend sittings, pending an appeal
- Pillaiyan granted permission to attend inaugural sitting by Batticaloa HC
- They will be transported to Parliament in prison vehicle
- Only 223 MPs will take oaths on Thursday as UNP, OPPP yet to finalise National List candidate
- First time since 1947 the UNP will not be represented in the Legislature
By Chandani Kirinde
Two newly-elected Members of Parliament (MPs), one convicted of murder and another accused in a high-profile murder case, will be allowed to attend the first day of Parliament sittings, to enable them to take their oaths.
SLPP MP Premalal Jayasekara, who was sentenced to death by the Ratnapura High Court in July, was granted permission to attend the inaugural sitting on Thursday, after he filed an appeal challenging his conviction. A copy of the appeal was sent to Parliament and it has been forwarded to the Prisons Department, Parliament sources said.
Less than a week after he was sentenced to death, Jayasekera won a Parliamentary seat, securing 104,237 votes and coming second in the Ratnapura preferential votes list. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, who was elected as an MP from the Batticaloa District, was granted permission to attend Parliament by the Batticaloa High Court yesterday.
Chandrakanthan, better known as Pillaiyan, contested from the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) while in remand custody as an accused in the murder of former ITAK MP Joseph Pararajasingham, who was shot dead during Christmas Mass in a Batticaloa church in 2005. Chandrakanthan topped the Batticaloa District preferential list, winning 54,198 votes.
The two will be brought to Parliament in a Black Maria, and taken back to prison at the end of the session.
Meanwhile, only 223 of the elected candidates will take oaths on Thursday, as the United National Party (UNP) and Our People’s Power Party (OPPP), which won a National List seat each, have failed to forward names to fill the vacancy to the Election Commission.
This is the first time since the first Parliamentary Election held in 1947 that the UNP will not have a representative in the Legislature.
In the last Parliament, the UNP had 106 seats, making it the single largest Party.