The Elections Commission (EC) clarified that the dual citizenship status of individuals involved poses no obstacle during political party registration,

indicating that there is no 'apparent' issue regarding the legitimacy of the main Parliamentary opposition party, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB).

Former State Minister Diana Gamage and her spouse Senaka de Silva once held ownership of a political party named ‘Ape Jathika Peramuna’ (AJP) and its ownership was transferred to a faction led by incumbent Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa ahead of the Parliamentary Elections in 2020, after which it was rebranded as the SJB. Gamage's recent loss of her Parliamentary seat due to her UK citizenship has prompted her to threaten reclaiming ownership of the SJB, sparking concerns about its legality.

The EC is responsible for the registration of political parties, ensuring that they adhere to the legal requirements and regulations set forth by the relevant legal provisions.

When contacted by The Daily Morning, EC Chairperson R.M.A.L. Ratnayake said Gamage has once served as AJP's Secretary, but its ownership has then been transferred to another party (Premadasa-led group), after making changes to the Party's Constitution and office bearers.

"The AJP has been rebranded as the SJB, and the EC has recognised it as the SJB. Nominations for current SJB MPs have been issued under the name of its incumbent General Secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara, so, there is no apparent issue with regard to it."

When asked as to whether there is any obstacle for a person holding dual citizenship to register a political party, he said that there is no such issue as per the existing legal provisions.

"There is no impediment for a dual citizen to register a political party. The relevant legal provisions do not mention dual citizenship. So, even a person who has come from abroad can register a political party."

Speaking to the media recently, SJB General Secretary and Opposition MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara emphasised that the transfer of party ownership to the Premadasa-led group was completed in 2019 in accordance with all necessary procedures, asserting that there are no legal concerns regarding its legitimacy.

He also mentioned the SJB's intention to pursue legal action against Gamage for allegedly submitting misleading documents during her nomination process as a National List MP.




WhatsApp Image 2023 08 02 at 15.09.47

Follow Us


Exchange Rates


Electric Bill