Mohan de Silva only surprise pick in SLC elections

Jayantha Dharmadasa after being appointed SLC president AFP

Sri Lanka Cricket's first election by secret ballot concluded peacefully with Jayantha Dharmadasa and Nishantha Ranatunga being elected uncontested for the two most powerful posts of president and secretary respectively.

The majority of office-bearers elected for the main posts last year were retained, with the exception of Asanga Seneviratne, who lost his seat as vice-president to Mohan de Silva. That was the only major upset in an otherwise straightforward contest. K Mathivanan retained his seat as one of the vice-presidents by polling the highest with 113 votes. Nuski Mohamed retained his seat as treasurer when he beat his opponent Eastman Narangoda by 32 votes (87-55).

The election was supervised by officials of the Elections Department at the request of SLC because this was the first time a secret ballot was being used to elect the office-bearers. Although all the key office-bearer posts barring the president and secretary were contested, the incumbent office-bearers managed to re-elect themselves for a two-year term. The official term for the previous year's board was one year, but due to postponement of elections, their term was stretched to 15 months.

Jayantha Dharmadasa was appointed the sole nominee for the position, after the three original candidates were disqualified, for three different reasons. Thilanga Sumathipala was first ruled to be contravening Sri Lanka's sports law, which states no person linked to the betting industry, media or a sports equipment business may stand for SLC presidency, before incumbent president Upali Dharmadasa - Jayantha's brother - and Badureliya Sports Club president Sumith Perera, were disqualified by the board for falling foul of the SLC constitution.

With no legitimate candidates left standing, SLC's executive then exercised a constitutional right to appoint their own nominee, after Jayantha Dharmadasa expressed strong interest in the role, and had already acquired the documentation that would allow him to stand for election.

Jayantha Dharmadasa was SLC interim president from 2005 to 2007, and is joint managing director of business conglomerate Nawaloka Group, alongside his brother. Ranatunga was elected to the post of secretary without contest for the second year in a row.

He had also served in that role in two interim committees immediately preceding the 2012 elections, and has been SLC's secretary since 2009. Before last year's election, SLC had been run by a series of interim committees for seven years.

Seneviratne, who was one of two vice-presidents elected last year lost his seat by 13 votes to de Silva, a former SLC president. Silva polled 81 to Seneviratne's 68. Hirantha Perera and Ajitha Pasqual also retained their posts as assistant secretary and assistant treasurer respectively.

Perera polled 79 against his opponent Bandula Dissanayake, who managed 51 while 14 votes were rejected. A third contestant, Priyantha Soysa, withdrew. Pasqual won by the thinnest of margins against Irwin Jayawardene (71-68) with five votes being rejected.

Outgoing president Upali Dharmadasa will automatically serve in the next Executive Committee as the immediate past president, making it the first instance of two brothers serving in an SLC committee.

There were contests for the tournament, umpires and tour organising committees while the sponsorship committee went uncontested for lack of candidates.

The new board is another major change in a season of flux for SLC. In the past three months, SLC has appointed a new CEO, two new captains (Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal) and a new fast bowling coach (Chaminda Vaas), while the sports minister named a new selection panel, headed by Sanath Jayasuriya, in February.

The elections were conducted amid tight security at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo. It commenced at 10.30am and lasted a marathon eight hours.

Additional inputs by Andrew Fidel Fernando