OPPP expels Ven. Rathana Thera | Sunday Observer

OPPP expels Ven. Rathana Thera

17 October, 2021

Parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera has been expelled from the Our Power of People Party (OPPP).

Election Commission Chairman, Nimal G. Punchihewa said he was informed of the matter in writing by OPPP’s General Secretary.

Ven. Rathana Thera was appointed by the Ape Jana Bala Pakshaya, also known as Our Power of People Party (OPPP) on December 18 last year to fill its National List parliamentary seat which was left vacant for several months following a long-drawn dispute within the party. The OPPP received 67,758 votes (0.58%) at the General Election in August 2019. Despite failing to win any seats in the districts it contested, the party received one National List slot. Former JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera and Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera were among the bhikkhus who contested the 2019 Parliamentary Election under the flag symbol of the party.

On January 5 Ven. Rathana Thera was sworn in as a Member of Parliament before Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

He was first elected to Parliament in 2004 from the Kalutara district as a representative of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). Contesting under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Ven. Rathana Thera was elected to Parliament for the second time in 2010 from the Gampaha district. He represented Parliament for the third time after he was appointed as a National List MP of the United National Party (UNP) in 2015.

According to party sources, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera will be appointed to replace Ven. Rathana Thera in Parliament. OPPP National Organiser Dr. Susantha Kodithuwakku said that on Friday, October 15 the Party informed the Elections Commission about the removal of Ven. Rathana Thera.

He said the Ven. Thera was accused of acting against the decisions of the party thereby undermining the public’s trust in the party. He said following an inquiry, the party had taken the decision to remove him.

Ven. Rathana Thera said that the decision to expel him was illegal and that legal action would be taken regarding the illegal document that allegedly led to his removal. He said that he had learned that the General Secretary of the party had sent the letter and added that the Secretary had no authority to send such a letter and that only the Chairman of the party had the authority to send such a letter.