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Parliament of Sri Lanka
ශ්‍රී ලංකා පාර්ලිමේන්තුව (Sinhala)
இலங்கை பாராளுமன்றம் (Tamil)
Coat of arms or logo.
Type Unicameral
Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka Hon. W. J. M. Lokubandara, United National Party
since 2 April 2004
Members 225 (Members of Parliament)
Meeting place
Parliament Building, Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte
Sri Lanka
Coat of arms of Sri Lanka, showing a lion holding a sword in its right forepaw surrounded by a ring made from blue lotus petals which is placed on top of a grain vase sprouting rice grains to encircle it. A Dharmacakra is on the top while a sun and moon are at the bottom on each side of the vase.

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Sri Lanka

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The Parliament of Sri Lanka is a Unicameral 225-member legislature elected by universal suffrage and proportional representation for a six-year term. Parliament reserves the power to make all laws. It is based on the British Parliament.

The Speaker or, in his absence the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees or the Deputy Chairman of Committees, presides over Parliament.

The nation's President has the power to summon, suspend, prorogue, or end a legislative session and to dissolve Parliament.

Of the 225 members, 196 are elected from 22 multi-member electoral districts. The remaining 29 are National List seats, allocated to the contending parties (and independent groups) in proportion to their share of the national vote.


Last election

e • d  Summary of the 2 April 2004 Parliament of Sri Lanka election results
Alliances and parties Votes % Change Seats Change
United People's Freedom Alliance 4,223,970 45.60 -0.01 105 +12
United National Front 3,504,200 37.83 -7.73 82 -27
Tamil National Alliance/Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchi 633,654 6.84 - 22 +22
Jathika Hela Urumaya 554,076 5.97 - 9 +9
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 186,876 2.02 +0.87 5 -
Up-Country People's Front 49,728 0.54 1
Eelam People's Democratic Party 24,955 0.27 -0.54 1 -1
Jathika Sangwardhena Peramuna 14,956 0.16 +0.14 0
United Socialist Party 14,660 0.16 +0.06 0
Ceylon Democratic Unity Alliance 10,736 0.12 0
New Left Front 8,461 0.09 -0.42 0
Democratic People's Liberation Front 7,326 0.08 -0.10 0 -1
United Muslim People's Alliance 3,779 0.04 0
United Lalith Front 3,773 0.04 +0.00 0
National People's Party 1,540 0.02 0
Sinhalaye Mahasammatha Bhoomiputra Pakshaya 1,401 0.02 +0.00 0
Swarajya 1,136 0.01 0
Sri Lanka Progressive Front 814 0.01 +0.00 0
Ruhunu Janatha Party 590 0.01 +0.00 0
Sri Lanka National Front 493 0.01 +0.00 0
Liberal Party 413 0.00 -0.01 0
Sri Lanka Muslim Katchi 382 0.00 -0.01 0
Socialist Equality Party 159 0.00 +0.00 0
Democratic United National Front 141 0.00 -0.01 0
Independent lists * * * 0
Total 9,262,732 - - 225
Source: [1]


The formal ceremony marking the start of self rule, with the opening of the first parliament at Independence Square by the HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester in the presence of Rt Hon D.S. Senanayake as first Prime Minister of Ceylon.

The first legislature established in Ceylon were the Executive Council and the Legislative Council, which were established on March 13, 1833 according to the recommendations of the Colebrook-Cameron commission. The Executive Council was composed of the Colonial Secretary, the officer commanding the Military Forces, the Attorney General, the Auditor-General and the Treasurer and the duties of the council were advisory and the Governor of Ceylon, who presided consulted them but was at liberty to disregard their advice. At first it was made up of only British but later include native citizens. At the begging 16 then later 49 members of the Legislative Council where were elected, however by a limited number of people who qualified to vote.

In 1931 the Legislative Council was dissolved and in its place a more powerful State Council of Ceylon was established with its 101 members voted by universal adult franchise as provided by the Donoughmore Constitution.

Prior to the granting of independence and the establishment of the Dominion of Ceylon on 4 February 1948, a new binomial parliament was established in 1947, according to the recommendations Soulbury Commission after the State Council was dissolved . It was based on the Westminster model with an upper house, the Senate, it members were appointed and a lower house of parliament, the House of Representatives, it members were elected. The House of Representatives consisted of 101 Members (increased to 157 in 1960) and the Senate consisted of 30 Members, of whom 15 were elected by the House of Representatives and 15 nominated by the Governor-General of Ceylon.

The Senate was abolished on 2 October 1971, in 22 March 1972 when the republic constitution was enacted, House of Representatives was replaced with the National State Assembly which add 168 elected members. This it self was replace by the Parliament of Sri Lanka when the constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka was enacted in 1977.

In 1987, a grenade was lobbed into a conference room inside the Parliament complex where government MPs were meeting. Two people were killed and sixteen injured, but the target of the attack, President J. R. Jayawardene escaped unhurt. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna claimed responsibility for the attack.

Parliament Secretariat

The Parliament Secretariat which is headed by the Secretary General of Parliament is charge for the administrative duties in Parliament made up of 8 departments.

These departments are;

  • Department of Serjeant-at-Arms
  • Department of Administration,
  • Department of Legislative Services
  • Department of Hansard
  • Department of Finance & Supplies
  • Department of Information Systems and Management
  • Co-ordinating Engineer's Department
  • Department of Catering & Housekeeping

The Staff Advisory Committee (SAC) established under the Parliamentary Staff Act provides advice and guidance to the Parliamentary Secretariat in respect of matters concerning the staff. The SAC consists of the Speaker (Chairman), the Leader of the House, the Minister of Finance and the Leader of the Opposition.

Parliament Buildings

The Old Parliament Building the near the Galle Face Green, now the Presidential Secretariat
The old Legislative Council Building, Colombo fort. Today houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Under the British Colonial regime, when the Executive Council and the Legislative Councils were set up in 1833, they met in a building opposite Gordon Gardens, which is now the "Republic Building", occupied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On January 29, 1930 the British Governor of Ceylon, Sir Herbert Stanley (1927-1931), opened a building fronting the ocean at Galle Face, Colombo, designed for meetings of the Legislative Council. It was subsequently used by the State Council (1931-1947), the House of Representatives (1947-1972), the National State Assembly (1972-1977) and the Parliament of Sri Lanka (1977-1981). Today the Old Parliament Building is used by the Presidential Secretariat.

In 1967 under Speaker Sir Albert F. Peris, the leaders of the political parties unanimously resolved that a new Parliament building should be constructed on the opposite side of Beira Lake from the existing Parliament at Galle Face, but no further action was taken. While Stanley Tilakaratne was the Speaker (1970-77), the leaders of the political parties entrusted the drawing up of plans for a new Parliament building to architects, but the project was subsequently abandoned.

On July 4, 1979, then Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa obtained sanction from Parliament to construct a new Parliament Building at Duwa, a 5 hectare (12 acre) island in the Diyawanna Oya (off Baddegana Road, Pita Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte) about 16 kilometres (10 miles) east of Colombo. The island was where the palace of the King Vikramabahu III's powerful Minister Nissaka Alakesvara had been situated. It had belonged to E. W. Perera prior to being vested in the state.

The building was designed by architect Deshamanya Geoffrey Bawa and built with Sri Lankan funds. On April 29, 1982, the new Parliamentary Complex was declared open by then President J.R. Jayewardene.

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