Sri Lanka parliament speaker heightens unrest warnings to president

AFP – Sri Lanka’s parliament speaker on Tuesday stepped up his warnings to the country’s president that unrest could erupt unless lawmakers are allowed to choose between two rival prime ministers.

President Maithripala Sirisena suspended parliament after sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replacing him with former strongman leader Mahinda Rajapakse.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya — who on Monday warned of a "bloodbath" if parliament remains shut — said in a letter to Sirisena that he had to recall parliament "in the name of democracy".

"If you do not, we will not be able to stop people taking alternate action to protect their democratic rights," Jayasuriya said in the letter seen by AFP.

"In the name of democracy, I urge you to reconsider your decision to prorogue parliament and allow justice to be served."

Jayasuriya said more than 125 legislators in the 225-member legislature had signed a petition seeking the reconvening of the assembly where Wickremesinghe’s party is the biggest.

Wickremesinghe says Sirisena has suspended parliament to give Rajapakse time to secure a majority.

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