Sri Lanka parliament suspended amid political crisis

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has suspended parliament amid a developing political crisis where ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed Prime Minister.

A political battle is being fought in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo as Rajapaksa and United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who is disputing his sacking by the President overnight, attempts consolidate a parliamentary majority of 113.

Wickremesinghe flanked by leaders of his United National Front told reporters he had a majority in parliament and asked for the parliament to be recalled.

He said the appointment of Rajapaksa was unconstitutional.

The suspension of the parliament also delays a budget for 2019 scheduled for November 05. G L Pieries, chairman of Sri Lanka Progressive Party, connected to Mahinda Rajapaksa said the suspension of the parliament till November 16 was to give them time to prepare a vote on account, or a stop gap budget.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya called for calm.

Ceylon Worker Congress, a Tamil Party from Sri Lanka’s central hills and Ealam People’s Democratic Party from the North has pledged support for Rajapaksa remaining within the 96 members, and two United National Party members have also crossed over.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has said they will stay with Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Front, which originally had 107 with speaker.

The Tamil National Alliance of 15 members had said their support will depend on the constitutionality of the move.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna which has six members had made no comment on their support.

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Secretary General of President Maithripala Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance said they planned to swear in a new cabinet of ministers as soon as possible.  President Sirisena had issued a notice sacking the secretary of the ministry held by Wickremesinghe.

State Minister of Economic Affairs Harsha de Silva urged supporters of both parties to be calm and not to harm each other.

"This is a political battle, we will sort it out," he said.

Police said officer on leave had also been recalled for duty. (Colombo/Oct27/2018)

 

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