Sri Lanka rivals woo defectors in bid to end impasse

Marsha Scott
November 5, 2018

The speaker of parliament in the Indian Ocean island, Karu Jayasuriya, said Sirisena had agreed to call parliament on November 7, following calls for an early session to end the crisis.

At least 4 more of the TNA's 16 MPs are believed to be to joining Rajapaksa.

A lawmaker from the main Tamil party defected to the Rajapaksa side and was made a minister on Friday.

Sirisena, after replacing Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa, had suspended Parliament after the sacked premier sought an emergency session to prove his majority.

The president's move has plunged the country into a constitutional crisis with Wickremesinghe claiming he is still the prime minister.

Wickremesinghe told The Associated Press on Friday that members of the newly formed government under Marinda Rajapaksa have offered lawmakers positions and money in exchange for their support.

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Parliament speaker Karu Jayasuriya has called a meeting for next Wednesday.

Sirisena dismissed Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet last week and later announced that he acted in part because Wickremesinghe and a Cabinet colleague were behind an alleged assassination plot against him. "Malicious rumours are being spread to discredit the Government and I think this will put a stop to all that", the Government spokesman said adding that, "Despite cries of foul play, the powers vested in the President in proroguing Parliament and appointing a PM is very clear".

According to latest counts, Wickremesinghe has 103 MPs while Rajapakse and Sirisena together have 100. Most of the 22 remaining MPs, including the TNA, are likely to oppose Rajapaksa. "The police must take action immediately".

The party said in its statement that Rajapaksa's appointment and President Maithripala Sirisena's suspension of Parliament was undemocratic.

However, Wickremesinghe insisted he was still prime minister and demanded a vote in parliament to prove his majority.

Wickremesinghe survived a no-confidence motion in Parliament in April brought by Rajapaksa supporters over allegations involving his appointment of a Singaporean as the central bank governor, who is now accused of leaking inside information to benefit his son-in-law in a treasury bond sale.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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