Fam­ily jewels on pa­rade in new par­lia­ment

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - ELECTIONS NEWS - By Chathuri Dis­sanayake

An­ces­try and ge­neal­ogy have played a mas­sive role in elect­ing par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in this week’s polls. A large pro­por­tion of the leg­is­la­ture is made up of rel­a­tives and de­scen­dants of for­mer po­lit­i­cal big­wigs.

The most prom­i­nent fam­ily ties are those of the Ra­japaksa clan. For­mer pres­i­dent Mahinda Ra­japaksa has re­turned to the cham­ber with his son, Na­mal. A third- gen­er­a­tion politi­cian, Na­mal Ra­japaksa con­tested in the same dis- trict as his un­cle, Chamal Ra­japaksa, who also se­cured a seat. D. A. Ra­japaksa, fa­ther of the se­nior Ra­japak­sas, had been an MP in the 1947 par­lia­ment.

The other fa­ther- son com­bi­na­tion in the cur­rent par­lia­ment is Dr Ra­jitha Se­naratne and Chathura Se­naratne , a first- time MP. Fa­ther- and- son com­bi­na­tions have been a win­ning man­thra on a few other oc­ca­sions as well. For­mer prime min­is­ter D.S. Se­nanayake and his son, Dud­ley, were in State Coun­cil to­gether and, fol­low­ing the In­de­pen­dence, in par­lia­ment, while in 2001 the late Alick Alu­vi­hare and the late Reg­gie Ranatunga sat in par­lia­ment along­side their sons.

Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Dilum Amunugama, un­cle and nephew, will also be sit­ting in the new leg­is­la­ture. Dr. Amunugama has been nom­i­nated through the UPFA na­tional list while Dilum was voted in from the Kandy dis­trict. Hus­band and wife Daya and Anoma Ga­m­age are also re­turn­ing to par­lia­ment, the for­mer be­ing elected from the Digamadulla Dis­trict and the lat­ter as a Na­tional List nom­i­nee.

The 15th par­lia­ment also in­cludes a num­ber of chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of for­mer prime min­is­ters. The great­grand­son of D. S. Se­nanayake, Was­an­tha Se­nanayake, has been able to se­cure a seat while his un­cle, Ruk­man Se­nanayake, a for­mer min­is­ter, lost the race this time. Ju­nior Se­nananayake’s cousin and new Prime Min­is­ter Ranil Wick­remesinghe’s nephew, Ruwan Wi­je­w­ar­dene, was also re­turned to par­lia­ment from the Gam­paha dis­trict.

Vidura Wick­re­m­anayaka, son of for­mer prime min­is­ter Rath­nasiri Wick­re­m­anayaka, was suc­cess­ful in his bid to re­turn to par­lia­ment. Anu­radha Ja­yaratne, the son of yet another for­mer prime min­is­ter, D. M. Ja­yaratne was also suc­cess­ful in his maiden at­tempt. For­mer pres­i­dent Ranas­inghe Pre­madasa’s son, Sa­jith, re­tained his seat.

Broth­ers Naveen and Mayan­tha Dis­sanayake will en­ter the leg­is­la­ture fol­low­ing their fa­ther, the late min­is­ter, Gamini Dis­sanayake. Mayan­tha is another fresher in the new par­lia­ment. Naveen’s fa­ther- in- law, Karu Jayasuriya, is set to be cho­sen Speaker.

Sib­lings Was­an­tha and Ran­jith Alu­vi­hare, sons of for­mer min­is­ter Alick Alu­vi­hare, se­cured vic­tory this year. Two out of three Ranatunga broth­ers, Ar­juna and Prasanna, were suc­cess­ful from op­pos­ing sides.

Fol­low­ing their fathers, 17 off­spring of pop­u­lar politi­cians have se­cured seats, among them, the late Berty Premalal Dis­sanayake’s son, Du­minda Dis­sanayake in Polon­naruwa.

Bharatha Lak­sh­man Premachan­dra’s daugh­ter, Hirunika, is a first- time MP along­side Kan­chana Wi­je­sek­era, son of for­mer cab­i­net min­is­ter Mahinda Wi­je­sek­era. The new­com­ers had been pro­vin­cial coun­cil­lors be­fore en­ter­ing par­lia­ment.

Ramesh Pathirana, for­mer UPFA min­is­ter Richard Pathirana’s son, has re­tained his seat as has his ri­val, Gayan­tha Karunathi­laka, son of Rupa Karunathi­laka, a min­is­ter in the for­mer UNP gov­ern­ment. For­mer min­is­ter Vin­cent Per­era’s son San­jaya Per­era was elected from the Rat­na­pura dis­trict while Philip Gu­nawar­dena’s son, UPFA strong­man Di­nesh Gu­nawar­dena, made a suc­cess­ful bid for his seat although his brother, Geethan­jana, fell short.

Chandima Ga­m­age, son of for­mer par­lia­men­tar­ian Lal Ga­m­age, Ma­hanama Sa­ma­raweera's son, Man­gala, and S.D.R. Ja­yaratne’s son, Priyankara, also won seats.

For­mer min­is­ter Anu­rud­dha Rat­watte’s son, Lo­han Rat­watte, has made a come­back. The for­mer pres­i­dent, Chan­drika Ku­maratunga, is his cousin. T. B. Ten­nakoon’s son, Janaka Ban­dara Ten­nakoon, has also been re- elected. For­mer MP Yasaratne Ten­nakoon is his brother. J. C. Alawathuwala, son of J. C. Alawathuwala, won in Ku­rune­gala. The son of Fes­tus and Mary Per­era, Niroshan Per­era, se­cured vic­tory while the nephew of B. L. Wi­je­manna, Lak­sh­man Wi­je­manna, was also re-elected.

G. V. Pun­chinil­ame's son Su­san­tha Pun­chinil­ame, and T. Sid­dharthan, son of D. Sid­dharthan, were suc­cess­ful in re­turn­ing to par­lia­ment. D.V. Chanaka, son of pro­vin­cial coun­cil­lor D. V. Upul, who was re­cently ar­rested over a con­tro­ver­sial state­ment he made, en­tered par­lia­ment for the first time. He is one of its youngest mem­bers.

The daugh­ters of for­mer MPs Dhar­madasa Wan­niarachchi and Chan­dra Ban­dara, Pavithra Wan­niarachchi and Chan­drani Ban­dara, have re-en­tered the leg­is­la­ture.

Ro­hini Kavi­ratne, widow of pro­vin­cial coun­cil­lor Sanjeewa Kavi­ratne, daugh­ter of ex- min­is­ter the late Wi­jer­atne Banda and daugh­ter- in- law of for­mer min­is­ter P. B. Kavi­ratne, also se­cured a seat in her maiden con­test. The widow of for­mer min­is­ter T. Ma­h­eswaran, Wi­jayakala Ma­hesh­waran, Je­yaraj Fer­nan­dop­ulle’s widow, Dr. Su­dar­shani Fer­nan­dop­ulle, and Sumedha B. Jayasena’s widow, Sumedha G. Jayasena, also re­gained their seats.

Hus­band and wife Sarath and Anoma Fon­seka, con­test­ing for the Demo­cratic Party in Colombo and Gam­paha, failed to make the mark along with their for­mer son- in law, Da­nuna Thilakaratne, who con­tested from Colombo.

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