From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

The UNF candidate for Speaker D J M Lokubandara scraped through to the top seat in parliament after a late evening third round vote.
The deadlock was broken by two JHU members who exercised their vote in the eleventh hour to neutralize a controversial move by two of their members to vote for the government candidate, against a party stand to sit out the vote. rn

rnThe appointment of Speaker was widely viewed as the acid test of the new governments strength in Parliament. rn

rnNew Speaker Lokubandara won with 110 votes, just one vote ahead of the government in a eventful day. Pandemonium reigned in earlier rounds, with noisy protest from both sides. rn

rnThe second vote as aborted in mid action when government members descended to the floor of the chamber, surrounded the ballot box and sat on it, protesting the action of some opposition members who showed their ballot papers to their party leaders.rn

rnThe government candidate apparently got the support of Alliances 105 members, EPDPs 01, two b