UNP provincial councilor D.M. Amaratunga has been appointed as the new Chairman of the North Central Provincial Council, following an extensive debate and tense situation today.

Members of the ruling party and the opposition clashed within the chamber this morning as a motion of no-confidence was brought against the Chairman of the provincial council, T.M.R. Siripala.

Opposition members of the North Central Provincial Council had attempted to bring the no-confidence motion on July 13 citing the fact that it is against tradition to propose to the Governor that Chief Minister Peshala Jayaratne should be removed.

However, it was not included to the agenda for that day as the session was postponed till today. When the session commenced this morning, former provincial minister S.B. Semasinghe raised a privilege issue with regard to the motion being included in the agenda.

He stated that if the no-confidence motion is to be included into the agenda, the matter should be discussed with the chairman and that it is against the constitution to include the motion to the agenda after only consulting the Secretary.

Opposition Leader Anil Ratnayake then pointed out that it can be included into the agenda according to the agreement of a majority of members.

The exchange of words escalated into a brawl between several members while the Mace had also been damaged when certain councilors attempted to steal it.

Afterwards the members of the opposition had attempted to proceed with the session by making the UNP’s T.M. Amaratunga sit in the chair of the Chairman.

Amaratunga postponed the session till 2.00pm while the opposition members convened a press briefing afterwards.

Although the session was scheduled to recommence at 2.00pm following the press conference, this was delayed due to the misplacement of the Mace.

Another tense situation was reported when opposition members and police attempted to enter the officer of the chairman and search for the Mace.

However, opposition members of the council managed to locate the Mace which was broken into two pieces and hidden while the session was reconvened.

The motion of no-confidence was then passed while UNP member D.M. Amaratunga was appointed to the position of Chairman.

He then postponed the sessions of the council till August 08.

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