Karu Jayasuriya

Hon.
Deshabandu

Karu Jayasuriya
GCRS MP
දේශබන්දු කරූ ජයසූරිය
தேசபந்தி கரு ஜயசூரிய
Karu Jayasuriya.jpg
20th Speaker of the Parliament
Assumed office
1 September 2015
DeputyAnanda Kumarasiri
Thilanga Sumathipala
Preceded byChamal Rajapaksa
Minister of Buddha Sasana
In office
12 January 2015 – 17 August 2015
PresidentMaithripala Sirisena
Prime MinisterRanil Wickremesinghe
Preceded byD. M. Jayaratne
Minister of Public Administration, Democratic Rule
In office
12 January 2015 – 17 August 2015
PresidentMaithripala Sirisena
Prime MinisterRanil Wickremesinghe
Preceded byD. M. Jayaratne
Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs
In office
2007–2008
Minister of Power and Energy
In office
12 December 2001 – 6 April 2004
PresidentChandrika Kumaratunga
Prime MinisterRanil Wickremesinghe
Member of Parliament
for National List
Assumed office
2015
Member of Parliament
for Gampaha District
In office
2000–2015
Mayor of Colombo
In office
1997–1999
Personal details
Born (1940-09-29) 29 September 1940 (age 77)
NationalitySri Lankan
Political partyUnited National Party
Alma materAnanda College, Colombo
OccupationPolitics, Diplomat
ProfessionBusinessman
WebsiteOfficial website

Deshabandu Karu Jayasuriya (Sinhalese: කරු ජයසුරිය; born 29 September 1940) is a Sri Lankan politician who has been Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka since 2015.[1] Previously he was Mayor of Colombo from 1997 to 1999, Minister of Power and Energy from 2001 to 2004, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs from 2007 to 2008, and Minister of Buddha Sasana, Public Administration, and Democratic Governance in 2015. He served as Chairman of the Leadership Council[2] of the United National Party (UNP), as well as Deputy Leader of the UNP.[3] He is a Member of Parliament representing the Gampaha District. He received his early education at Ananda College, Colombo. Under President Ranasinghe Premadasa's government, Karu Jayasuriya was appointed as Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Germany. As Speaker of Parliament, he also acts as Chairman of the Constitutional Council.

Life and career

Jayasuriya served as a commissioned officer of the Sri Lanka Army from 1965 to 1972. A businessman by profession, he was thrust into active politics in 1996 when he became party chairman at the request of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. In 1997, he was elected Mayor of Colombo by a large majority. Following his efficient administration of the country's most populous city, the party nominated him to be Chief Ministerial candidate of the Western Province, which he lost narrowly. He became the opposition leader of that province. At that election, he created a new precedent by refusing to publish posters, saying it promoted violence and polluted the city he worked hard to keep clean. At the General Elections of 2000, he was elected to Parliament from the Gampaha District with a large number of preferential votes even though his party was defeated. After his remarkable showing, he was elected Deputy Leader of the UNP.

Following the victory of the UNP at the General Elections in 2001, Karu Jayasuriya was appointed Minister of Power and Energy. Having inherited a challenging ministry he ensured a continued power supply and commenced reforms of the heavily indebted Electricity Board. With President Chandrika Kumaratunga's abrupt dissolution of parliament in April 2004, and the UNP's defeat at the ensuing election, he once again returned to the front benches of the Opposition. At the Presidential Elections of 2005, in which Wickremesinghe was the party's candidate, Jayasuriya was named as the nominee for the premiership in the event of the party's success. As an unofficial running mate, he traveled widely, actively campaigning for his leader.

Wickremesinghe narrowly lost the election and following his defeat, there were requests by a section of the party for the leadership to be handed over to Jayasuriya. In the meantime, Wickremesinghe and Rajapakse signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to co-operate with the peace process. Jayasuriya and his supporters insisted on taking a step further and joining the government formally by accepting ministerial office, which was strongly opposed by Wickremesinghe. The ensuing power struggle resulted in a bitter and acrimonious war of attrition between the two.

After several abortive attempts to oust Wickremesinghe from the party leadership, Jayasuriya led a group of 18 parliamentarians, including several party front-liners, in crossing over to the government side. In the 2007 cabinet reshuffle after the crossover, he was appointed as Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs. He resigned from his Public Administration and Home Affairs portfolio on 9 December 2008 and rejoined the UNP as its deputy leader.[4]

In January 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Jayasuriya as Minister of Public Administration, Democratic Rule and Buddha Sasana after his victory in the presidential election.

Speaker

At the first session of the 8th Parliament, he was elected as Speaker on 1 September 2015. His name was proposed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and seconded by Nimal Siripala De Silva. Thilanga Sumathipala was elected as his deputy.

The Order of the Rising Sun

Jayasuriya was awarded The Order of the Rising Sun, the highest order awarded by the Japanese government in 2016. Jayasuriya missed the award ceremony in Japan due to his daughter's death but was later awarded in Colombo.[5]

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