Sri Lanka House Speaker Says Rajapaksa Must Prove Majority

Lamar Ellis
November 8, 2018

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has called for parliament to be reconvened on the 14th of November at 10.00 am drawing sharp criticism from the country's sacked prime minister which decried it as "too late".

A majority in parliament has requested that all changes made have been anti-constitutional and against the traditions.

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.

Parliamentary speaker Karu Jayasuriya has urged the president to call together legislators, warning the dispute could end in a "bloodbath" if MPs are barred from holding a vote.

This Monday, Jayasuriya stated that in the midst of the political crisis prevailing in the island nation, he was compelled to accept the status of the earlier government till the new political alliance proves its majority in Parliament.

President Sirisena said he appointed a new person who is state friendly and who has a clear vision for the country and one who would not bow down to foreign agendas.

Sirisena announced on Sunday that parliament would reconvene on November 14, a week later than he had promised, prolonging the power struggle that has crippled the country.

Some members of his party have alleged they were offered portfolios and huge amounts of money to switch allegiances.

Therefore, President Sirisena said the United National Party should not worry about that and he through the new government would strengthen Parliament.

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Parliament road from Borella was a sea of heads as the crowds kept streaming into the Parliament Roundabout where the rally under the theme "Ratama Rakina Jana Mahimaya" presided over by the President and the Prime Minister was held.

Wickremesinghe says his dismissal is unconstitutional.

GL Peiris, a leading Rajapaksa backer, however said the no confidence motion can not be taken up in a hurry. Rajapaksa needs 113 to prove his majority in the 225-member House.

Meanwhile, both parties organised public protests on Monday.

Supporters at the rally chanted "Whose power is this?"

At least eight legislators from the UNP and a member of an opposition party have now crossed over to the Sirisena and Rajapaksa-led United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), which had the backing of 96 legislators prior to the crisis.

The unity government was formed in 2015 when Sirisena was elected President with Wickremesinghe's support, ending a almost decade-long rule by Rajapaksa.

Last week, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya joined the speaker in refusing to endorse Sirisena's controversial sacking of Wickremesinghe for Rajapakse.

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