Newly elected local body heads take oaths today

The United People Freedom Alliances’ newly-elected Mayors and chairmen of Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas will take their oaths before President Mahinda Rajapaksa today.
Colombo’s mayor-elect A.J.M.

Muzammil, who was elected on the Opposition United National Party ticket will take oaths on a later date.
A brief account of some of the newly elected Mayors follows:

Colombo MC (UNP) - A.J.M.Muzammil

He was born in Kahawatta and educated at Zahira College, Colombo. He joined the UNP in 1971. He organized party activities in the Pelmadulla and Nivithigala electorates. In 1977 he led the campaign of UNPer K. W. Devanayagam of Kalkudah which the latter won. At the 1988 Presidential campaign he negotiated an electoral agreement with M. H. M. Ashraff for R. Premadasa and opposed the impeachment motion against President Premadasa.

In the 1994 general election he coordinated work in the Ratnapura district. He negotiated Gamini Dissanayake’s return to the UNP in 1994. Contested the Provincial Council Elections of 2004 and 2009. He secured the highest number of votes again in the 2009 Western Provincial Council election. He was nominated to contest the CMC’s mayor post in the recent October elections.

He has served on the Board of Governors of Zahira College. Helped the cause of cricket as the President of the Moors Sports Club for over 20 years. He claims to have helped in the development of vocational training in Sri Lanka.

Kotte MC (UPFA) - Janaka Ranawaka

In 2002 he entered the Sri Jayawardhanapura- Kotte MC as a member and in 2004 he was named the opposition leader. In 2006 he was named as the Deputy Mayor falling short of 36 votes to receive the highest number of preferential votes. He was responsible for starting water supply projects and re-building roads. At last week’s elections he received the highest number of preference votes.

Dehiwala Mt.Lavinia (UPFA) - Dhanasiri Amarathunga

Entered politics in 1991 as a UNP youth member. He was mayor in 2002 during the UNP rule and again during the UPFA regime, winning with 12,300 preferential votes. He was replaced with Sunethra Ranasinghe who was made mayor after which he became deputy mayor. He has promised to rid the area of dengue. He says he will take up the housing project which the former regime had neglected.
He received 25,768 preferential votes at the October MC election.

Badulla MC (UPFA ) U.N.Gunasekara

Former mayor U. N. Gunasekera was re-elected to the post. He is an old boy of Uva Maha Vidyalaya, Badulla and was entered the Law Faculty of the Colombo University.

In 2002 he was elected for the first time and became the opposition leader. In 2006 he became the Mayor contesting under the UPFA and won again with the highest number of preferential votes at the last election.Badulla which was a Town Council in 1933 was upgraded to Municipal Council status in 1963.

Nuwara Eliya (UPFA) - Dodampegamage Mahinda Kumara

He became the 16th mayor in the Nuwara Eliya MC. He entered politics in 2002 as a UNP member and in 2006 was re-elected as a UNP member to the Municipal Council before crossing over to the UPFA this time. He is the nephew of K. Cyril Bapu who held this post twice before. Born on May 19, 1969 he has seven brothers and sisters He was educated at the Gamini Jathika Vidyalaya and is senior vice-President of the OBA. He entered the tourist trade and is the current chairman and managing director of a hotel and has been involved for many years in the environmental tourism campaign.

He holds the post of chairman of the Nuwara Eliya Tourist Hotel Trade. He won many awards for his service to the Central Province tourist trade. The council was under the UNP regime from 1983 until the party was defeated last Saturday.

Moratuwa (UPFA) Samanlal Fernando

Was re-elected as mayor with the highest preference vote (15,828) in the MC’s history.
In 2006 elected as mayor with 6,915 preferential votes. He has promised to clean up the city.
In 2008 and 2009 the MC won the best MC award for the Western Province.

Gampaha MC (UPFA) - Eranga Senanayake

A former mayor who crossed over from the UNP and contested under the UPFA.
He was appointed mayor after former mayor Ajith Mannapperuma was elected to the Provincial Council.
His father who was a mayor was assassinated

Kalmunai MC (SLMC) – UPFA Siraz Meerasahidi

Was born in Kalmunai in 1974. Educated at Zahira College, Colombo. He joined the Ports Authority as a Management Assistant. In 1998 he went to Great Britain for higher studies and returned in 2005. He then established a private educational institute in Colombo and entered politics 45 days ago. He is the first mayor in history to win an election in such a short time.

Kurunegala MC (UPFA) Gamini Peramunage

He was first elected in 1997 as the youngest member and in 2002 he gained 1,612 preferential votes to become the opposition leader. In 2006 he won again with 2,776 preferential votes and was placed second to become deputy mayor only last year. This time he won with a record 6,805 preferential votes to put the former mayor into second place. A father of 3 and a businessman, his wife is a teacher.

Hambantota (UPFA) - Eraj Ravindra

He entered politics in 1984 and joined the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party. In 1999 he campaigned at the provincial elections and later crossed over to the UNP. He was elected to the MC from the UNP in 2004. He contested this election under the UPFA.

“Most of the needs of the area have been fulfilled due to rapid development. But going by work done by the government we are not satisfied with the votes gained,” he said.

Anuradapura (UPFA) H.P.Somadasa

Initially campaigned in the Mulkirigala electorate in the 1970s. Later joined the Police. In 1988 supported the SLFP in political activities in the Kalawewa area and acted as the co-ordinating secretary of the current Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake. In 2006 was elected as the Deputy Mayor. In last week’s election he was able to receive the highest number of preference votes.

Galle MC (UPFA) - Methsiri Silva

An educationist by profession, he entered politics in 1997 under the guidance of former Minister Richard Pathirana. He contested the Municipal Elections and came in seventh. In 2002 he became the opposition leader of the council. In 2006 he contested the MC elections and topped the list and was named as the Mayor following a dispute over the post. This time he received the highest number of preference votes.

Matara (UPFA) - Soinda Handunge

In 1997 he first became the Matara Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman. He remained in the council until 2004 and later became a Provincial Council member. He received the highest number of votes this time. He is also the co-ordinator for the President in the Matara district.

Matale (UPFA) - Hilmy Mohammed

Was elected as the Mayor for the third consecutive time. The first time he was elected to the council in 2002 under the UNP and in 2006 he crossed over to the UPFA and was elected as the Mayor. He is a businessman by profession and the brother- in-law of Colombo Mayor A.J.M.Muzammil.

Ratnapura (UPFA) Kapil Abeyratna

A former mayor and lawyer by profession, he was an ex-Member of Parliament.

Negombo (UPFA) Anthony Jayaweera

He returned seventh on the UPFA list, but was named as the Mayor. He had been in the council earlier.

Kandy (UPFA) Mahendra Ratwatte or Sena Dissanayake is to be named as the Mayor.

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