18 May, 2022


Situation Report: Speaker Faces Mutiny From Parliamentary Staff Siding With Sirisena

Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya is getting flack from democratic minded Sri Lankans all over the country for failing to act to end an ever deepening political crisis caused by President Maithripala Sirisena‘s illegal sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that the third citizen of the nation and head of the country’s legislature is facing a major mutiny by Parliament staff led by Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake.


Dassanayake is reportedly leading his staff to openly flout directives from Speaker Jayasuriya constantly using the refrain that he was bound as a public servant “to follow the directives issued by the Presidential Gazette”.

The resistance has also prevented the Speaker from moving to reconvene Parliament in defiance of the President’s illegal prorogation of the House despite mounting calls for him to do so, since SG Dassanayake and the staff have made it abundantly clear they will not cooperate.

On Monday (5) when Dinesh Gunewardena stormed into the Parliament complex with a group of Buddhist monks and decided to “assume office” as Leader of the House highly placed sources Dassanayake opened the doors to the office still legally occupied by Lakshman Kiriella. This was in spite of a specific direction from Speaker Jayasuriya that Gunewardane should not be allowed to do so. When Kiriella called the Speaker later to request him to safeguard the rights and privileges of Parliamentarians, Jayasuriya said he was “powerless” to stop the encroachment and forcible entry. Confidants to the Speaker confirmed that he was unable to rein in the bureaucrats in Parliament because Dassanayake was insisting that he was compelled to follow the Government Gazette and was openly flouting the Speaker’s directives in a bid to please President Sirisena and his newly appointed Prime Minister.

At a meeting of Party Representatives last week SG Dassanayake and his staff attended the meeting last Wednesday only as long as representatives of the illegal Government appointed on 26 October were present to submit a list of decisions made at their ‘cabinet’ meeting held that morning to the Speaker. Once Mahinda Samarasinghe, Dinesh Gunewardena and Nimal Siripala De Silva and Sarath Amunugama handed the memo over and left, Dassanayake and other staff members also walked out of the meeting. Incensed members of Parliament pitched into the Secretary General reminding him that he was an employee of Parliament and did not report to the executive.

Dassanayake has reportedly informed the Speaker that if he chooses to reconvene parliament ahead of the date declared by President Sirisena – which is the wish of over 118 MPs – none of the staff would make necessary arrangements to hold the sittings. In other words staff will refuse to bring in the Mace, record proceedings or conduct any administration work necessary to hold a session.

Meanwhile Sergent at Arms of Parliament Narendra Fernando told the Mawbima newspaper this weekend that officials in Parliament would only abide by the Gazette issued by the President. In a bold statement Fernando also said seating arrangements in Parliament would be made in line with the Gazette notifications – meaning that they would assign the PM’s chair to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the Leader of the House seat to Gunewardena etc – and added that “there would be no need to consult the Speaker on such matters.”

The mutiny by Parliament staff has sparked criticism about public officials being party to intentional violations of the constitution and assisting President Sirisena to execute his coup d’etat.

Director Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law Dr Asanga Welikala took to Twitter on Tuesday to point out that the Secretary General of Parliament and the Serjeant at Arms had fundamentally misunderstood the point that their master was Parliament, and not the executive.

‏”Their mulish insistence on the proverbial gazette could be simply bureaucratic cussedness, or even a figleaf for partisanship. But the Speaker and the majority of MPs have made the position of Parliament clear, which is that it should be recalled to determine the legitimate govt. The duty of parliamentary officials is to serve Parliament, not the executive. If not, they become instruments of the destruction of parliamentary democracy. They should remember that that is very serious misconduct,” Dr Welikala said.

Executive Director of Verite Research Dr Nishan De Mel said that #coupLK bureaucrats need more scrutiny. “In facing off #CoupLK the office of the Speaker @KaruOnline has faced intense scrutiny. @HarshadeSilvaMP has fine tuned that focus to the bureacracy: even Speaker might be constrained by responses of Secretary General to #lka Parliament (?) #CoupBureaucrats need more scrutiny,” Dr De Mel tweeted.

UNP State Minister Harsha De Silva slammed Secretary General Dassanayake in a tweet yesterday claiming the bureaucrat had “Welcomed with glee” MP Dinesh Gunewardane to illegally occupy the Office of the Leader of the House. “Merely there to assist Speaker he is abusing power to overrule decision of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to side with #CoupLK and President Sirisena” De Silva tweeted.

Rumours are swirling that Dassanayake had already met with a sibling of Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss non-cooperation with the Speaker of Parliament and arrangements for when Parliament eventually reconvenes.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    How come no more access to TNL? Is TNL banned and closed down?

    Can anyone advice if the have access to TNL???

    • 2

      Confused citizen

      Confused, as if TNL is the only available TV station in the country!

      Who do they support? MS.MR or RW?

      • 7

        Media freedom Gota style has commenced with the help of guys like real revolutionist who, when someone asks why he cannot watch his choice of tv station, says watch MR tv. Very soon white vans will get activated.

  • 15

    if the parliament is reconvened in 14th nov and the speaker has more than 113 MP’s support ,he should sack all the parliament staff who did not take his orders and employ others who are neutral.

  • 5

    Real revolutionist ? your nick and your comments are chalk and Cheese and laughable.

    People should be allowed to watch all Medias to decide.

  • 8

    Hey guys, there is a rumour that there going to be a Parliamentary election.
    Let’s get ready. Though I am against TNA, I have no intention to sideline them now, as Mahinda has already ENDORSED TNA.
    ALL those who RESPECT democracy and rule of law should get together against Maithri’s dictatorship.
    DON’T VOTE any alliance where Maithri is in. Reject him totally.
    With eyes closed there is 50% already in this side.
    For an example, at the last LG elections, Pohottuwa received 50% of votes in almost all electorates as a single party.
    However, 50% of people in almost every village have voted for various other parties in smaller percentage, like 10%, 15%, 20%, 5%. Together, they make 50%.
    This is just an idea to do the math.
    I can’t stand Maithri’s high handedness and dictatorship.
    These votes should be cast against him. (I am not against Mahinda. But I will never forgive him for plugging with Maithri for cheap power and contesting any election together with him.)
    With eyes closed, 50% is already in this side. Little more work to do to garner the votes from the other side, who detest Maithri
    Mahinda took the stupidest decision in his political life by coupling with Maithri. Otherwise he could have received over 60% of votes with his eyes closed, without any effort.
    Let’s go.

    • 7

      Even if the President dissolves the Parliament, it can be annulled through a petition to SC based on a previous judgement. SC has already accepted that what is in effect is the 19th Amendment. Eg: Reducing Maithri’s term from 6 to 5 based on the Clauses stipulated in the 19th Amendment.
      The same way, there are ONLY 2, very clear occasions the Parliamentary can be dissolved.
      1. At the expiry of 4 1/2 years.
      2. By a Resolution passed with 2/3 majority.
      Based on the above, even if the Parliamentary is dissolved, the SC will nullify President’s order and make the Parliament’s existence in the previous setting legal.
      I am so surprised to see even some senior Ministers are NOW of the view that the majority in the Parliament is not required.
      Why not? Majority in the Parliament is the ONLY BASIS, I repeat, ONLY BASIS to form a government. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY!!!
      OMG, I have never heard this much of EXTREME DICTATORSHIP in any other democratic country.
      What is Maithri’s problem? Why he is looking for illegal channels to run the country completely avoiding the Parliament?
      If you don’t have the majority, then face the truth. Why are you trying to hide the fact? You all have destroyed Mahinda completely. His appointment HAS NOT BEEN accepted by ANY COUNTRY so far as he hasn’t shown the majority in the Parliament.
      I am telling you, the President and others, what you are doing to former President is disgusting. You all have ruined him.

      • 4

        Champa ,

        Why do you reckon you need someone else to ruin MAHINDA ?
        Mahinda puts his family interest before everything else and
        that unlimited selfishness has blinded him this far yes , it is
        disgusting to you and me but there are nearly five million who
        voted him in and it is that five million and the control of Armed
        forces under SIRA that has brought this situation . The general
        public were being constantly dragged on to the street to show
        Mahinda power and now this SIRA the MARU joined him to
        show that he is ready with the ammunition ! All against whom ?
        Against the majority that fell Mahinda down ! Mahinda must
        have respectably accepted the verdict and retired from politics !
        Why didn’t it happen ? Because of his NAMAL dream ! And he is
        a filtered double standard man ready to go any far for his goal and
        this is such an undertaking ! If he ever believed the result of last
        L G election then why choose this illegal and chaotic
        disgusting short cut which is nothing but A CLEAN COUP . I know
        of one business principle that is NEVER TAKE A PARTNER
        COMING WITHOUT INVESTMENT ! SIRA’s only investment is
        BACKSTABBING ! They will do more to buy more time to keep
        democratic process out of the way ! And one more thing , none of
        these three including Ranil , were groomed to be leaders by U N P
        or S L F P , there were no other choice for the parties, so them .
        After Bandaranayake , S L F P had never groomed leaders but after
        Dudley , there was J R J and after him there were others in line
        and Ranil was not among them ! All these situations contribute to
        the deterioration of the orderly process that has led to chaos .

  • 5

    It is very clearly proved that Sira’s move to sack Ranil was more of personal
    than policy or political . He said on the platform where his new friend who
    was former bitter enemy was listening that he offered the premiership to Sajith
    and Karu and they didn’t accept it and Sajith has endorsed the statement . Now
    it is clear he was working underground to divide U N P with the next in line of
    leaders , against Ranil ! Many questions arise here that point to anything but
    policy , politics or the country . First , even before the parliament is summoned ,
    he must tell the people what made MARA cleared from corruption and theft , an
    allegation he himself did during the whole of his election campaign and non-stop
    until this last moment of appointing MARA as illegal prime minister ? All other
    complicated issues aside ! Address the common man from whom you beg the
    votes .In my view , this act is quite sufficient to make the courts that are hearing
    cases of Rajapakshas , a joke because the country’s first citizen trust him for the
    next top post of the country to handle the finances ! And also , at the rate M Ps are
    priced today, how much is it for a president ? Explain to the people why one
    should trust him that he was not the best priced ? People must put this question
    to him .

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