Friday, 16 November, 2018

Sirisena Announces Reconvening of Parliament on Nov 14

Thousands march in support of Sri Lanka's new government Rajapakse rally gathers as Sri Lanka showdown toughens
Pablo Mccormick | 08 November, 2018, 10:08

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena announced on Sunday (Nov 4) that parliament would reconvene a week later than expected, prolonging a bitter power struggle that has crippled the country.

The nation of 21-million has been gripped by constitutional turmoil since Sirisena sacked his former ally, prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and his cabinet on October 26 - appointing former president Mahinda Rajapakse in his place.

Severely criticizing the policies of the Wickremesinghe government, the President said the ones who took decisions regarding the country in the recent past were not the President or the Prime Minister, but a "gang of butterflies" who were around Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Wickremesinghe says his dismissal is unconstitutional.

But parliament's speaker Karu Jayasuriya warned on Monday the president's actions were illegal and he would not recognise Rajapakse as prime minister. However, as corruption remains a large problem for Sri Lankan democracy, expect such a decision to be marred by allegations of bribery.

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"Foreign countries are trying to take our resources, take our land", said Mithra Kumara Jayasinghe, a wedding photographer at the rally who said he had voted for Rajapaksa the two times he was elected president, in 2005 and 2010, and when he lost a re-election bid in 2015.

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Busloads of Rajapakse followers were arriving Monday from across the country for the rally planned near parliament in the capital Colombo.

The speaker in Sri Lanka's parliament said he can't recognize newly-appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa until he proves a majority in the legislature. Parliamentarians are also favouring the ousted PM along with the speaker.

Wickremesinghe told The Sunday Morning in an exclusive brief interview that he remained confident that he would have the numbers to show in Parliament and remain as Prime Minister.

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Sirisena was supported by Wickremesinghe three years ago but the two men have gradually drifted apart, leading to Wickremesinghe's shock sacking last month.

UNP supporters also condemned Sirisena's decision to recall parliament two days prior to the initial suspension order against Wickremesinghe, describing the move to be "eyewash to appease the ever-increasing worldwide and local pressure".

GL Peiris, a leading Rajapaksa backer, however said the no confidence motion can not be taken up in a hurry. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe's government of not taking seriously an alleged assassination plot against him.

Rajapaksa camp had already enticed a TNA legislator to join ranks by giving him a deputy ministerial position.

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She moved into more emotional territory as the song progressed, holding back tears while singing about her future wedding day. The singer also slipped up a bit at the end when she concluded the performance by running up the stairs through the audience.

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