Sri Lanka political battle fought for parliamentary majority

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

Wickremsinghe had said his sacking is illegal and said the majority can be decided in parliament.

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. Ananda Aluthgamage one of the members to cross over said there were 20 members who were willing to cross over at media conference in late afternoon.

However members of the Wickremesinhe’s party said maintained that President Sirisena had suspended parliament because Rajapaksa did not have the required support.

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.

Secretary General of President Maithripala Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance said they planned to swear in a new cabinet of misters as soon as possible.

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.

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

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