Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa loyalist fires first shots at President

ECONOMYNEXT – Former president Mahinda Rajapakse’s Party fired the first salvo against President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday saying his move had crippled the country and demanded that parliament be summoned immediately.

Kumar Welgama, a former minister in Rajapaksa’s cabinet, said Sirisena had made Sri Lanka the butt-end of jokes around the world and the issue of the prime minister should be resolved through the legislature.

"Our country is going down the precipice. No one is working in government offices," Welgama told reporters after a meeting with parliamentary officials. "Public servants want to know who the real PM is. People are confused."

Welgama who is a senior member of Rajapakse’s party said he wanted the suspension of parliament ended for the two men to face a vote on the floor of the House to decide who commands a majority.

"Today, every country is laughing at us. One Prime Minister is at Temple Trees and the other is in the PM’s office," Welgama said. "We need to settle this issue through parliament.

Wickremesinghe says his dismissal was illegal as he commands a greater majority in parliament over Rajapakse who was controversially installed on October 26.

There was no immediate reaction to his call from the president who has powers to restore the legislature that he shut on October 27, a day after sacking Wickremesinghe.

President Sirisena had issued a proclamation recalling parliament on November 14.

Sri Lanka’s Police chief Pujith Jayasundara said he would take orders from the President, but declined to comment on the legality of Sirisena’s sacking of the cabinet.

Wickremesinghe’s Law and Order Minister Ranjith Madumma Bandara had asked the police chief not to carry out any illegal orders.





Jayasundara told reporters that he could not comment on the legality of a new administration appointed by the president.

Sirisena who shut the legislature to forestall a challenge in parliament  to his actions is due to reopen it on November 14. (COLOMBO, November 7, 2018)

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