Karu Jayasuriya

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Karu Jayasuriya

දේශබන්දු කරූ ජයසූරිය
தேசபந்து 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
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
Member of Parliament
for Gampaha District
In office
Mayor of Colombo
In office
Personal details
Born (1940-09-29) 29 September 1940 (age 78)
NationalitySri Lankan
Political partyUnited National Party
Alma materAnanda College, Colombo
OccupationPolitics, Diplomat
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
AllegianceSri Lanka
Branch/serviceCeylon Army Volunteer Force
Years of service1965 - 1972
RankSecond Lieutenant
UnitCeylon National Guard
Battles/wars1971 JVP insurrection

Deshabandu Karu Jayasuriya, MP (Sinhala: කරු ජයසුරිය; born 29 September 1940) is a Sri Lankan politician and statesman. He is the current Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.[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 has 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 since 2001. He had served as Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Germany. As Speaker of Parliament, he also acts as Chairman of the Constitutional Council.


Karu Jayasuriya was born on 29 September 1940 in Mirigama, Gampaha, to the family of Podi Appuhamy Jayasuriya and Wimalaseeli Jayasiriya.Jayasuriya was educated at Kandangamuwa Vidyalaya, Mirigama and at Ananda College, Colombo. He went on to gain professional membership (AICS) of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers in 1965 and was later fellowship (FICS). He trained in commodity trading at the Baltic Exchange and went on to receive Advanced Management Training at INSEAD. He later became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.[4]

Military career[edit]

Jayasuriya joined the Ceylon Army Volunteer Force in 1965 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Ceylon National Guard. He saw combat service during the 1971 JVP insurrection, having first come under fire while trying to reestablish rail links between Colombo and Anuradhapura. He left the army in 1972.[4]

Private sector and diplomatic service[edit]

Following his departure from the army, he joined the private sector and became a senior corporate executive, serving as Chairman, Managing Director and Executive Director of several companies. He was the Chairman of The National Chamber of Commerce, SAARC Chamber of Commerce, Colombo Rubber Traders' Association, Sugar Importers Association and The Sri Lanka Business Development Centre, as well as the Director of the Export Development Board.[4] President J. R. Jayewardene appointed him to the Presidential Commission in the early 1980's. He became an unofficial adviser of President Premadasa on the private sector and in 1991 he left the private sector and was appointed by President Premadasa as the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the ‘EXPO 92’ Trade exhibition. He was thereafter appointed as Sri Lankan Ambassador to Germany with accreditation to Austria and Switzerland in 1992 serving till 1994, when he resigned and returned to Sri Lanka following the defeat of the UNP in the elections that year.[5]

Political career[edit]

Mayor of Colombo[edit]

Jayasuriya became active in politics in late 1995 and he became party chairman in 1995 at the request of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. In 1996, Jayasuriya was nominated by the UNP of the local government elections as candidate for the post Mayor of Colombo, by passing Premadasa stalwart and former Mayor Sirisena Cooray. Jayasuriya was supported by both Wickremesinghe and Cooray as he was considered close to the former President Premadasa. Karu Jayasuriya won the election and became the Mayor of Colombo gaining much popularity and notability in the process, having been initially from a non-political background. He served as Mayor till 1999 efficiently administrating the country's most populous city.[5]

Provincial council[edit]

Following his success as Mayor of Colombo, Jayasuriya contested the 1999 provincial council elections as the UNP nominee and Chief Ministerial candidate of the Western Province, which he lost narrowly. He became the opposition leader of the western province council serving till 2001.[5] 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.[6]

Cabinet minister[edit]

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.[7]


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.[citation needed]

Cross over and return[edit]

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.[8]

Return to government[edit]

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 of the Parliament[edit]

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. [9] Thilanga Sumathipala was elected as his deputy.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Karu elected as new Speaker". Adaderana. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  2. ^ I did not betray the party members: Karu, Daily Mirror, Retrieved on 6 November 2013.
  3. ^ Karu UNP deputy leader BBC News, Retrieved on 8 December 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Karu Jayasuriya - Speaker of the 8th Parliament of Sri Lanka
  5. ^ a b c Karu’s gratitude
  6. ^ Dissident Karu Jayasuriya appointed UNP deputy leader. Tamil Net, Retrieved on 08 December 2008.
  7. ^ UNP to hold 140 presidential election rallies. Tamil Net, Retrieved on 04 September 2005.
  8. ^ Only the UNP that is capable of giving leadership Archived 16 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine Lanka e News, Retrieved on 10 December 2008
  9. ^ Karu Jayasuriya elected Speaker of Sri Lanka’s eighth Parliament. News First, Retrieved on 1 September 2005.
  10. ^ "Japanese Govt confers Karu Jayasuriya with "The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun" - Sri Lanka News-News 1st-Sirasa News-Politics-Weather-Sports-Breaking News-Latest News". newsfirst.lk. 31 January 2017.
  11. ^ Speaker Karu Jayasuriya awarded 'Pride of Asia' by AKITS
  12. ^ Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to receive special honorary award
  13. ^ "Wise Karu pride of all Buddhists". dailymirror.lk. 19 March 2019.
  14. ^ "'Maha Sangha duty-bound to felicitate virtuous leaders'". dailynews.lk. 18 April 2019.
  15. ^ http://www.dailynews.lk/2019/07/09/local/190602/amarapura-maha-nikaya-confers-honorary-title-speaker

External links[edit]