Speaker Karu Jayasuriya named TNA leader R. Sampanthan as the Opposition Leader of the Eighth Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
There was a debate on the post of opposition leader since both the TNA and the UPFA faction which is against the national government were demanding it.
The Speaker announced today that the UPFA has not made any official request for the post of Opposition Leader.
The TNA, which holds 16 seats in parliament, was demanding the post since the UNP and the SLFP came to an agreement to form a national government.
However, 55 UPFA MPs recently requested President Maithripala Sirisena to appointment Kumara Welgama as the Opposition Leader.
Rajavarothiam Sampanthan was born 5 February 1933. He is the son of A. Rajavarothiam, Superintendent of Stores at the Gal Oya Project. Sampanthan is related to S. Sivapalan and N. R. Rajavarothiam both of whom were MPs for Trincomalee. He was educated at St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna, St. Anne’s College, Kurunegala, St. Joseph’s College, Trincomalee and St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa. After school he joined Ceylon Law College, graduating as an attorney at law
Sampanthan was the TULF’s candidate in Trincomalee at the 1977 parliamentary election. He won the election and entered Parliament. Sampanthan and all other TULF MPs boycotted Parliament from the middle of 1983 and Sampanthan forfeited his seat in Parliament on 7 September 1983.
Sampanthan was one of the ENDLF/EPRLF/TELO/TULF alliance’s candidates in Trincomalee District at the 1989 parliamentary election but the alliance failed to win any seats in the district.
On 20 October 2001 Sampanthan became the leader of the newly formed TNA. Sampanthan contested the 2001 parliamentary election as one of the TNA’s candidates in Trincomalee District. He was elected and re-entered Parliament after an absence of 18 years.