Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka

The Speaker of the Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is the presiding officer of the chamber. The current Speaker of the Parliament is Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, in office since 20 August 2020. The Speaker fulfills a number of important functions in relation to the operation of the House, which is based upon the British Westminster Parliamentary system.

Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka
ශ්‍රී ලංකා පාර්ලි‌මේන්තු කථානායක
இலங்கை நாடாளுமன்ற சபாநாயகர்
Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena
since 20 August 2020
StyleHonourable Speaker
ResidenceThe Speaker's Residence, Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte
AppointerParliament of Sri Lanka
Constituting instrumentConstitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Inaugural holderAlexander Francis Molamure
Formation7 July 1931 (1931-07-07)
(as Speaker of the State Council of Ceylon)
SuccessionSecond in the
presidential line of succession
DeputyDeputy Speaker of the Parliament
SalaryLKR 822,000 annually (2016)[1][2]

The Speaker is second in the Sri Lankan presidential line of succession, after the Prime Minister.[3]


In 1931 under the Donoughmore Constitution the State Council of Ceylon was established and in it the first office of a Speaker of a legislative body was created as the Speaker of the State Council.

In 1947, according to the recommendations of the Soulbury Commission the State Council was dissolved and a Parliament was established in the Westminster model with an upper house, the Senate and the House of Representatives. While the head of the President of the Senate became the head of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives became the presiding officer of the House of Representatives. The office of the Speaker, as it exists now, was established in 1947, with the opening of the First Parliament of Ceylon on 4 February 1948, granting of independence and the establishment of the Dominion of Ceylon.

Duties and powers

The Speaker presides over the House's debates, determining which members may speak. The Speaker is also responsible for maintaining order during debate, and may punish members who break the rules of the House. The Speaker remains strictly non-partisan, and renounces all affiliation with his or her former political party when taking office for the duration of his term. The Speaker does not take part in debate or vote (except to break ties). Apart from duties relating to presiding over the House, the Speaker also performs administrative and procedural functions, and remains a constituency Member of Parliament (MP). The Speaker would be a chairmen of the constitutional council. The Speaker may accept the resignation of the president. The chief justice in consultation with the Speaker may determine that the president is temporarily unable to exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions and appoint the prime minister as acting president.[3]


As per the Article 64 of the Constitution when Parliament first meets after a general election, it will elect three members to serve as the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees (known simply as the Deputy Speaker) and the Deputy Chairman of Committees. The Speaker would vacate his office only if he tenders his resignation to the President or ceases to be a Member of Parliament or when Parliament dissolved.[3]


The Speaker is assisted by two deputies, all of whom are elected by the House. These are Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairman of Committees. In the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker or in their absence the Deputy Chairman of Committees, shall preside at sittings of Parliament. If none of them is present, a Member elected by Parliament for the sitting shall preside at the sitting of Parliament.[3]

Precedence, salary, residence and privileges

The Speaker's official residence in Kotte

The Speaker is the third highest-ranking official in Sri Lanka. At present, Speaker ranks in the order of precedence after the President and Prime Minister. From 1948 to 1971 (when the Senate was abolished) the Speaker ranked fifth in the precedence after the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice and the President of the Senate. From 1971 to 1978, the Speaker ranked fourth in the precedence after the Governor-General/President, the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice. After the second amendment to the Republican Constitution in 1978, in which the Speaker was placed second in the presidential line of succession; the Speaker gained his current position in the order of precedence.[3]

In 2016, the Speaker received a salary of 68,500 Sri Lankan rupees per month and other entitlements of a Member of Parliament.[4] In addition, the Speaker can use the Speaker's Residence and entitled to transport and security arranged by the Parliamentary Secretariat. At each sitting of parliament, the Speaker (or the presiding officer) travels in to the chamber in procession, after the Sergeant-at-Arms carrying the ceremonial mace that symbolises the authority of the Parliament. Sergeant-at-Arms attends the Speaker on other occasions. The Speaker has his office in the Parliament Complex and the Secretary-General of Parliament, who is in charge of the administrative duties of Parliament reports to the Speaker.[3]

Official dress

Chamal Rajapaksa, in the Speaker's ceremonial robes, mourning rosette and full bottomed wig

On ceremonial sittings or occasions, the Speaker wears a robe of black satin damask trimmed with gold lace, a mourning rosette (also known as a 'wig bag') and frogs with full bottomed wig. On normal sitting days, the Speaker wears only the robe and rosette without the wig or in certain cases without the official dress. This practice was adopted from the official dress of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

List of speakers of Parliament


  Governors of British Ceylon   Independent   United National Party   Sri Lanka Freedom Party   Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna

Name Portrait Party Tenure Head(s) of Government Parliament
Speakers of the State Council (1931–1947)
Alexander Francis Molamure Non-partisan 7 July 1931 – 10 December 1934 Graeme Thomson
Francis Graeme Tyrrell
Reginald Edward Stubbs
1st State Council
Forester Augustus Obeysekera Non-partisan 11 December 1934 – 7 December 1935 Reginald Edward Stubbs
Waithilingam Duraiswamy Non-partisan 17 March 1936 – 4 July 1947 Reginald Edward Stubbs
Maxwell MacLagan Wedderburn
Andrew Caldecott
Henry Monck-Mason Moore
2nd State Council
Speakers of the Ceylonese House of Representatives (1947–1972)
Alexander Francis Molamure United National Party 14 October 1947 – 25 January 1951 Henry Monck-Mason Moore
D. S. Senanayake
Albert Peries United National Party 13 February 1951 – 18 February 1956 D. S. Senanayake
Dudley Senanayake
John Kotelawala
Hameed Hussain Sheikh Ismail Independent 19 April 1956 – 5 December 1959 John Kotelawala
S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike
Wijeyananda Dahanayake
Tikiri Banda Subasinghe Sri Lanka Freedom Party 30 March 1960 – 23 April 1960 Dudley Senanayake 4th
R. S. Pelpola Sri Lanka Freedom Party 5 August 1960 – 24 January 1964 Sirimavo Bandaranaike 5th
Hugh Fernando Sri Lanka Freedom Party 24 January 1964 – 17 December 1964
Albert Peries United National Party 5 April 1965 – 21 September 1967 Dudley Senanayake 6th
Shirley Corea United National Party 27 September 1967 – 25 March 1970
Stanley Tillekeratne Sri Lanka Freedom Party 7 June 1970 – 22 May 1972 Sirimavo Bandaranaike 7th
Speakers of the National State Assembly (1972–1978)
Stanley Tillekeratne Sri Lanka Freedom Party 22 May 1972 – 18 May 1977 Sirimavo Bandaranaike 1st National State Assembly
Anandatissa de Alwis United National Party 4 August 1977 – 7 September 1978 J. R. Jayewardene 2nd National State Assembly
Speakers of the Sri Lankan Parliament (1978–present)
Anandatissa de Alwis United National Party 7 September 1978 – 13 September 1978 J. R. Jayewardene 8th
Abdul Bakeer Markar United National Party 21 September 1978 – 30 August 1983
E. L. Senanayake United National Party 6 September 1983 – 20 December 1988
M. H. Mohamed United National Party 9 March 1989 – 24 June 1994 Ranasinghe Premadasa
Dingiri Banda Wijetunga
Kiri Banda Ratnayake Sri Lanka Freedom Party 25 August 1994 – 10 October 2000 Dingiri Banda Wijetunga 10th
Chandrika Kumaratunga
Anura Bandaranaike United National Party 18 October 2000 – 10 October 2001 Chandrika Kumaratunga 11th
M. Joseph Michael Perera United National Party 19 December 2001 – 7 February 2004 12th
W. J. M. Lokubandara United National Party 22 April 2004 – 8 April 2010 Chandrika Kumaratunga
Mahinda Rajapaksa
Chamal Rajapaksa Sri Lanka Freedom Party 22 April 2010 – 26 June 2015 Mahinda Rajapaksa
Maithripala Sirisena
Karu Jayasuriya United National Party 1 September 2015 – 2 March 2020 Maithripala Sirisena 15th
Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna 20 August 2020 – Present Gotabaya Rajapaksa 16th
Ranil Wickremesinghe

See also


  1. Thomas, Kris (21 November 2016). "Of Ministers' Salaries And Parliamentary Perks". Roar.lk. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  2. Thomas, Kavindya Chris (20 November 2016). "Do MPs get fat salaries?". Ceylontoday.lk. Ceylon Today. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  3. The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
  4. Of Ministers’ Salaries And Parliamentary Perks
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.