Friday, 16 November, 2018

Thousands march to support newly-appointed Sri Lanka government

Sirisena has been Sri Lanka's president since 2015 Sirisena has been Sri Lanka's president since 2015
Jeannette Daniel | 08 November, 2018, 10:07

Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse rallied tens of thousands of supporters in a show of strength on Monday even as the parliament's speaker refused to recognise his controversial appointment as prime minister.

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.

"I have to agree with the majority of parliament who believe that the president's actions are undemocratic, unconstitutional and against all norms of parliamentary procedure", added Jayasuriya, who is originally from Wickremesinghe's United National Party but holds a neutral position in parliament.

Wickremesinghe, who has challenged his dismissal and vowed to remain prime minister until parliament voted him out, said there were global concerns about a government led by Rajapaksa. "I will have to accept the status quo prior to the changes" unless a majority in parliament approves them, he said.

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

On October 27, Sirisena prorogued Parliament till November 16, but on Sunday evening he issued a special gazette notification saying Parliament would convene on November 14.

The political developments had no negative impact on tourism, new Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama said at the press conference.

More news: Volkswagen Tarok concept: baby double-cab bakkie revealed!

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

Before Wickremesinghe's dismissal, the UNP held 107 seats. The prime minister can only be dismissed if the Cabinet of ministers is dismissed, the prime minister resigns or the prime minister ceases to be a member of parliament.

The deposed leader has demanded a vote to prove his majority.

Rajapaksa supporters have accused Wickremesinghe of selling Sri Lanka's assets, citing a 99-year lease agreement his government struck with Hong Kong conglomerate China Merchants Port Holdings Co.

GL Peiris, a leading Rajapaksa backer, however said the no confidence motion can not be taken up in a hurry.

Both men have been marshalling numbers behind the scenes, worrying civil society groups who protested Sunday in the capital Colombo against the horse-trading. The President also requested former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to let the new government proceed with its business without any hindrance.

The political crisis in Sri Lanka began after Sirisena's broader front United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) announced that it has made a decision to quit the unity government with Wickremesinghe's UNP.

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