Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Sri Lanka president summons Parliament amid political crisis

Sri Lanka president summons Parliament amid political crisis

Speaking on the phone, the President briefed the UN Secretary General on Thursday, on the Constitutional provisions and parliamentary standing orders that enabled the Head of State to appoint a new Prime Minister and prorogue Parliament.

Tensions had been building between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe for some time, as the president did not approve of economic reforms introduced by the prime minister.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) party, which has seven lawmakers, said its members had also rejected offers to join the Sirisena-Rajapakse camp.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Sri Lanka s president on Friday to allow parliament to vote on the appointment of a prime minister to end a political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.

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.

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.

Rajapaksa, whose government was accused of atrocities and corruption in the final years of the civil war, maintains popularity among Sri Lanka's Sinhalese ethnic majority group, who credit him with ending the conflict with the Tamil rebels.

The TNA's parliamentary strength has been reduced to 15 as a result and there was speculation that at least 4 more of them were willing to support Rajapaksa.

In almost nine decades of universal adult suffrage in Sri Lanka, Asia's oldest democracy has been no stranger to insurgency, civil war, assassinations and suicide bombers.

In remarks broadcast on state television, Rajapaksa told a meeting at his office that Sirisena chose to summon Parliament on November 5.

The announcement was made by Parliament spokesman Karu Jayasuriya when he addressed a special meeting of party leaders.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's legislator son Namal Sunday indicated that the long-held demand of the Tamil minority community to release all Tamil prisoners may be fulfilled soon, a move aimed at persuading the Tamil legislators to support Rajapaksa.

India will have to keep a keen watch on the developments and ensure that the island does not take a Chinese turn.

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