ECONOMYNEXT – A spokesman for Sri Lanka’s controversial new government led by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa Wednesday admitted they lacked a majority in the parliament but claimed their opponents also did not have the numbers.
Dayasiri Jayasekera, who was appointed as Miniser of Vocational Training said they would continue despite a vote of no confidence in parliament Wednesday morning which he said was done without following proper procedure.
“The government will continue,” he told a news conference held to announce decisions by the Cabinet of ministers. “It is up to President Maithripala Sirisena to decide on a new government.”
Sirisena on October 26 appointed Rajapakse as prime minister in place of Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has contested the move, dissolved parliament and called for fresh elections, triggering a constitutional crisis.
But asked if the new government had the 113 votes to prove a majority in the 225-seat legislature, Jayasekera said:
“Neither the government nor Ranil Wickremesinghe has 113 votes in parliament.”
Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Tuesday overturned the presidential decree dissolving the legislature and ordered a halt to fresh polls, enabling Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to reconvene parliament Wednesday.
An opposition lawmaker then filed a motion suspending the day's agenda, followed by a no-confidence vote against Rajapaksa which Speaker Jayasuriya ruled was supported by a majority in parliament.
Wickremesinghe had consistently demanded parliament be reconvened to prove he commanded a majority in the assembly.
But Jayasekera rejected the no-confidence vote, saying that Speaker Jayasuriya had not followed proper parliamentary procedure.
(COLOMBO, 14 November 2018)