The inaugural session of the National Youth Parliament commences promising a new era for the youth of Sri Lanka
The inaugural session of the Sri Lanka’s Youth Parliament was inaugurated on 16th of July at the Sri Lanka National Youth Services Council in Maharagama under the patronage of Parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa.
The political observers said that this is a beginning of a new chapter in the socio-political environment of Sri Lanka, where the inaugural session of the National Youth Parliament, poised to change the experiences of the Sri Lankan youth was held.
Modeled after the Parliament of Sri Lanka, this is the country’s first step to join several developed nations in this advanced social experiment as it joins the peoples and nations of the world in celebrating the International Year of Youth.
The youth parliament aims to develop the leadership skills of the young men and women of our country and to encourage and engage them in quality and ethical political process to effectively transform Sri Lanka.
A prominent feature of the Youth Parliament is that it is representative of all the whole socio-political and economic strata of Sri Lanka, including a member from the physically disabled community.
The National Youth Parliament consists of a total number of 335 members, of whom 332 members each represent a different district in Sri Lanka and the 3 other members tasked with representing ethnic minorities who were appointed by the Authorized Officer and Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Mr. S.S. Hevapathirana.
All members of the parliament except the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Prime Minister and the Members of the Cabinet were divided to the Governing and Opposition sides.
Once the Mace was kept on its stand, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were elected. The proceedings of youth parliament were conducted in a peaceful and co-operative manner in contrast to the national parliament showing a good sign for the country’s parliamentary future.
In a ceremony identical to that of the actual Sri Lankan parliament, the five minutes of the ringing bell signaled the young members of parliament to take their seats.
The Secretary General of the Youth Parliament accompanied by the Sergeant-at-Arms brought the Mace to the parliament.
The national anthem was played as all members stood in respect.
Thus came into being the National Youth Parliament of Sri Lanka, conceptualized and spearheaded by a team comprising Dr. Navaratne Rambukwella and Prof. Dhamma Dissanayake from the Department of Political Science and National Policy of the University of Colombo and Dr. Shantha Abeysinghe from the Department of Political Science of the Open University, under the guidance of the Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, Mr. Dullas Allahaperuma.
Mr. Mohamed Anees of Naramwala was chosen as the Speaker, proposed and seconded by Mohamed Shah Jahan and Chamara Sampath respectively. Lasath Dissanayake from Bope Poddala was chosen as the Deputy Speaker, proposed and seconded by Thamindu Chamara and Dinesh Asanka respectively.
Mr. Shihan Dhammika Jayasinhe from Dodangoda in Kalutara was chosen as the Prime Minister. Ms. K. Kavithra from Kunukkai in Mullaithevu was chosen as the Deputy Prime Minister, demonstrating a truly mature attitude of the youth parliamentarians towards gender and ethnic equity.
Mr. Gayan Sameera from Kandy and Mr. Harindra Rupasinhe from Kegalle were chosen as Chairman and Deputy Chaiman of the Working Committee respectively.
The Chief Organiser of Government, Mr. Vimukthi Chathuranga from Weligama is also Chairman of the Committee on Environmental Protection. Mr. K.A.K. Senevirathne from Galenbidunuwewa in Anuradhapura was chosen as the Deputy Organiser of the Government and also the Chaiman of the Planning and Implementation Committee.
The Leader of Opposition, Mr. Eranda Manoj from Wattala is also the Chairman of the Planning and Implementation Committee on Human Resource and Enterprise.
The Chief Organizer of the Opposition is Mr. A.M. Aslum Sarja from Adalachchanei in Ampara, he is also the Chairman of the Committee on Public Relations.
The official term for the 1st youth parliament has been set for a limited period of 1 year due to limited membership of the Sri Lanka population in youth clubs and societies.
The official term of the youth parliament will be increased to its standard period of 3 years from election of the second parliament.
The parliament sessions would be held every 3rd Friday and Saturday of the month.
The Youth Parliament would be directly tasked with the work of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and its affiliated institutions. The ministry intends the Youth Parliament to be an independent decision making body.
- Asian Tribune -