The first legislature established in Ceylon was the Executive Council and the Legislative Council, which were established on March 13, 1833 according to the recommendations of the Colebrook-Cameron commission. The Executive Council was composed of the Colonial Secretary, the officer commanding the Military Forces, the Attorney General, the Auditor-General and the Treasurer and the duties of the council were advisory and the Governor of Ceylon, who presided over their meetings and consulted them but was at liberty to disregard their advice. At first it was made up of only British officials but later included native citizens. At the beginning 16, and later 49, members were elected for the Legislative Council, but a limited number of people were qualified to vote.
Situated in the middle of the Diyawanna Oya in the official administrative capital of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte on a roughly polygonal, sharp-angled islet, the new Parliamentary building is a beautiful work of architecture that somewhat echoes the older Kandyan and aristocratic southwestern art styles in its conception and creation. There are also traces of regional modernism in the architecture of the place. The artificial lake of Diyawanna is not a new feature. In fact it has been around for hundreds of years since the early days of the European Renaissance in fact, and thus was the center of the Kingdom of Kotte. More specifically, the little isle was once the home of Nissanka Alagakkonara, the minister of King Vikramabahu III of Kotte.
Over on the banks of the Diyawanna, one can clearly see it as it is currently, standing tall with its exaggeratedly longhouse-like appeal that stems from the large, low tiled roof, and the flat little piece of land on which it lies. The charm of the Parliamentary Building is most obvious during the sunset when the colors wash over the sides of the roof, giving it a magnificent golden sheen. It is certainly fitting given that the building was designed by the Master Architect Geoffrey Bawa.