The vote to elect the speaker to the new Parliament closed minutes ago, with initial reports indicating the race between the two key candidates was neck and neck.
Sources in parliament say the seven Saffron robed ministers abstained from the vote and only the two lquote missing monks voted with the UPFA.
rnHectic political manoeuvring went on overnight with both the main opposition United National Party of former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga trying to woo smaller parties. rn
rnKumaratunga has also been trying to patch up with her junior coalition partner, the Marxist JVP, or Peoples Liberation Front, which is at odds with her over the allocation of ministries. rn
rnHowever, it seems that despite their differences the JVP allies have stuck to the Alliance and voted with them to appoint a speaker from their camp. rn
rnMeanwhile, the uncertainty building up in parliament saw investors lying low until mid morning, with trading picking up towards the close of trading on Thursday.