Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Sri Lankan speaker refuses to accept Rajapakse as PM

Sri Lankan speaker refuses to accept Rajapakse as PM

Sirisena had on Friday promised that he would recall parliament on Wednesday to decide between two rivals claiming the lawful right to head Sri Lanka's government.

The Government Printing Department released the relevant special gazette yesterday.

Sirisena abruptly fired prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26 and appointed former president Rajapaksa to lead the ruling coalition instead, raising fears at home and overseas that this could derail Sri Lanka's halting national reconciliation process.

The Speaker had expected parliament to reconvene on November 7.

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

A new caretaker government has since then been appointed, with Wickremesinghe and other political parties calling the move illegal and urging Speaker Jayasuriya to convene Parliament to prove their majority.

November 7 or 14, as soon as the Parliament comes in session, Sri Lanka will get to know which party holds the majority in the 225-member assembly and also if the newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to be in power or the ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will lead the country.

He said he hadn't received any money yet.

On Sunday, Sirisena ordered parliament to reconvene in 10 days to resolve the protracted political crisis, drawing sharp criticism from Wickremesinghe's party which decried it as "too late". Although Wickremesinghe and the opposition have called the president's dismissal unconstitutional, Rajapaksa remains one of the country's most popular leaders and will not be easy to shake. 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.

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

The UNP has handed over a motion of no trust against Rajapaksa.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's legislator son Namal on Sunday indicated that the long held demand of the Tamil minority community to release all Tamil prisoners may be fulfilled soon, a move aimed at persuading the Tamil legislators to support Rajapaksa. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe's government of not taking seriously an alleged assassination plot against him.

And in Sirisena's opinion, Wickremesinghe is not likely to command the confidence of parliament and has therefore lost the right to be Prime Minister.

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.

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