Sri Lanka political crisis deepens, President Maithripala Sirisena suspends Parliament

27 October, 2018, 16:13 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Indian national arrested in Lanka president assassination plot sent to mental hospital

"I am addressing you as the prime minister of Sri Lanka", Wickremesinghe told reporters at a nationally televised press conference. He said when the cabinet stands dissolved the prime minister will have to be either removed or resign himself. Sirisena was elected president largely through votes from Wickremesinghe's party.

Following his victory in presidential elections on 8th January 2015, President Sirisena appointed UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister.

Sirisena later issued an official gazette notification that declared the removal of Wickremesinghe and appointment of Rajapaksa.

Speaking to jubilant supporters outside his Colombo home late Friday, Rajapakse called on Wickremesinghe to step down.

Rajapakse was sworn in by Sirisena in a ceremony at the president's office before the smiling ex-president headed to worship at a Buddhist temple.

The swearing in comes just minutes after the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by current president Maithripala Sirisena announced they would withdraw from the unity government, which has an alliance with the United National Party (UNP).

Wickremesinghe had survived a no-confidence motion in Parliament in April which was brought by supporters of Rajapaksa, the country's former strongman president.

Earlier Sirisensa's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had said it would quit the ruling coalition, capping months of rising tensions between the president's bloc and Wickremesinghe's centre-right United National Party (UNP).

Wickremesinghe's views were echoed by Minister of Finance and Media Mangala Samaraweera, who in a tweet said: "This is an anti democratic coup".

He has said that he can be removed only by Parliament where his party enjoys a majority, and also vowed to seek legal action against what he condemned as an unconstitutional move against him.

Rights groups say tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed in the final stages of the campaign, but Rajapakse has refused to acknowledge any abuses in the civil war.

The legacy of the conflict has proved a divisive topic in parliament. One of them, Amal Prasanna, said the move was "totally unexpected" but that he was happy Rajapaksa had returned.

The Modi government has also been quite displeased with the way it has been dragged into the internal politics of the Sri Lankan cabinet over the past few weeks. Rajapaksa and his family are facing several cases of corruption and financial irregularities.

Worldwide rights groups have called for the prosecution of both the military and the Tigers, who were notorious for suicide bombings and enlisting child soldiers.



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