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Sri Lanka Parliament not for sale: rights group

ECOMYNEXT – A rights group on Saturday urged member of Sri Lanka’s parliament not to sell their votes to settle the power struggle between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Movement for Democracy asked MPs not to undermine the will of the people and democracy by falling victim to the bribes offered to change their vote.

The group said the sacking of Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replacing him with Rajapaksa as well as the suspension of parliament till November 16 were illegal and unconstitutional.

“We are outraged that our political leaders have shown no regard for democratic norms and urge you, the Members of Parliament to uphold the integrity of our democracy,” the group said in a statement.

“We hear that the inducements of financial rewards range in the millions. We are deeply distressed to witness ministerial positions being awarded on the basis of changing political loyalties.”

The statement came a day after United National Party MP, Range Bandara alleged that he was offered 500 million rupees and the Law and Order portfolio to cross over.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem said MPs were being bought and sold “like in a market” and it had tarnished the image of all honourable members of the House.

He urged President Sirisena to end the suspension of parliament immediately.

Another UNP deputy minister Ranjan Ramanayake accused China of funding the purchase of MPs to support Rajapaksa, but Beijing has denied the allegation.

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