Solemn opening to Second Session of Ninth Parliament
The ceremonial opening of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament took place under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday.
The ceremony was held sans pomp and pageantry with a cultural salute with the participation of the Police Cultural Division without the traditional gun salutes or car parades, on the instructions of the President.
The President delivered the statement for nearly an hour amidst the applause of the Government side members and without any hindrance from the Opposition side. The members and the guests arrived at the Parliament from 9.15 am. Later Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Parliament.
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Secretary-General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayaka accorded a warm welcome to President Rajapaksa and first lady Ayoma Rajapaksa at the main steps of the Parliamentary complex.
The students of President’s Girls’ College, Sri Jayewardenepura lined up for the recital of Jayamangala Gatha at the main entrance of the Parliament Building in welcoming the President.
Thereafter the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament escorted the President inside the Parliamentary Complex along with the Serjeant-at-Arms, Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms and Assistant Serjeant-at-Arms. At the entrance of the dress room the President was welcome by Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena and Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando with betel leaves.
The President in accordance with the tradition, seated in the Presiding chair in the House and presented the Government’s Policy Statement at 10.00 a.m. in accordance with the powers vested in him by Article 33 (2) of the Constitution.
Following the presentation of the Government Policy Statement, the sittings in the House were adjourned until 1 pm today (19). All the members and guests were invited to the tea party.
A considerable number of SJB MPs were absent in the House when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressed Parliament yesterday. SJB MPs Harin Fernando, Manusha Nanayakkara, Harsha de Silva, P.Digambaram, Talatha Athukorala, Rajitha Senaratjne, Patali Champika Ranwaka, J. C. Alawathuwala, Kavinda Jayawardene and few others were absent at that moment.
Kumara Welgama was the only SJB Parliamentarian who was present at the tea party. In addition Justice Minister Ali Sabry and Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe were also absent.
Buddhist, Hindu and Islam Clergy were present.
The second session of the ninth Parliament was ceremonially opened while adhering to all health guidelines.