No election in Ceylon

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An electoral synod for the Church of Ceylon’s Diocese of Colombo has failed to elect a bishop to succeed the Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, who earlier this year reached retirement age of 65.

Meeting at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Savior in Colombo on 15 August 2020, the electoral synod was presented with three candidates: the Rev. Dushyantha Rodrigo, Headmaster of St. Thomas’ Prep; the Very Rev. Perry Brohier,  Archdeacon of Colombo; and the Rev. Marc Billimoria,  warden of St. Thomas’ Mount.

Under the church’s constitution candidates must win a two-thirds majority in both the House of Clergy and House of Laity.  If a candidate does not poll above 20% in the first round, he is eliminated from contention in the second round. When there are two candidates left in contention, the two thirds threshold falls to 60 percent.

After the first round of voting on 14 Aug 2020, Billimoria fell short of the twenty percent threshold and was removed from the ballot. In the second round the next morning, Rodrigo reached the two thirds threshold amongst the laity, winning 67 per cent of the votes cast, but fell short amongst the clergy winning only 54 percent.

The Archdeacon of Jaffna, the Ven. Sam Ponniah, who presided over the election, declared a failed election. Under the church’s constitution the choice of a new bishop falls to the metropolitan of the Church of Ceylon, the Archbishop of Canterbury.