Sri Lanka ruling party strengthens parliamentary clout

Feb 21, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s ruling party appointed a new member in place of a rebel member who died in a car crash, strengthening its clout in the legislature by one.

Reggie Ranatunga, a provincial governor until his appointment, would represent the Gampaha district, north of Colombo. Updated/recast Ranatunga, the father of Sri Lanka’s cricket star-turned-politician Arjuna Ranatunga, was sworn in as a member by the speaker of parliament W J M Lokubandara.

Ranatunga fills the parliamentary seat left vacant by the death of Sripathy Sooriyarachchi, also representing Gampaha district, who was killed on February 9 in a car crash.

Sooriyarachchi was a vocal critic of the government. After forming a breakaway faction of the ruling party with former foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera, used his vote independent of the party line.

Ranatunga is the governor of the Sabaragamuwa province, south east of Colombo, and has also been a parliamentarian and deputy cabinet minister on a previous occasion.