Sri Lankan parliament to reconvene on Nov 14

Elias Hubbard
November 8, 2018

Busloads of men and women from around the country descended on the capital as Rajapakse thanked President Maithriapala Sirisena for sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointing him in his place.

Sri Lanka has been plunged into a political turmoil since October 26, when President Maithripala Sirisena, in a surprising move dissolved the Cabinet, sacked Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and replaced him with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Opponents of Sirisena call the change an illegal attempt to bring Rajapaksa back to power.

The United Nations had led a chorus of worldwide voices demanding an early resumption of parliament to end the constitutional crisis that has paralysed the administration and caused economic upheaval.

Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has said he will not recognise the new appointments until either side is able to prove it has a majority.

In a setback to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, a deputy minister of his United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government resigned Tuesday and backed ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the ongoing political crisis.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) could tip a vote to decide between the two rivals and has already said it would vote against Rajapakse in a no-confidence motion when parliament reconvenes.

He asked the president to reconvene the parliament for a floor test and end the ongoing political crisis.

The President said he was forced to take the decision to free the general public from the Wickremesinghe government's economic vision that has burdened the people.

Wickremesinghe's suporters alleged that large sums of money had been offered to change sides.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said the previous government did not take these measures as they just wanted a luxury life while the people suffered due to heavy burden cast on them.

The state-run Sunday Observer, now controlled by Rajapakse loyalists, defended the change of government but acknowledged the crisis should be resolved.

"Foreign countries are trying to take our resources, take our land", said Mithra Kumara Jayasinghe, a wedding photographer at the rally who said he had voted for Rajapaksa the two times he was elected president, in 2005 and 2010, and when he lost a re-election bid in 2015.

This follows a warning from the European Union that it could withdraw duty-free concessions for Sri Lankan exports if it didn't stick to commitments on national reconciliation.

Sirisena suspended parliament the day after his move on October 26, and both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa are claiming to be prime minister in a situation that is being closely monitored by foreign governments who worry about democratic backsliding.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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