Sri Lankan president suspends parliament amid political crisis

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena suspended parliament on Saturday and the session will resume on November 16. It is alleged he is allowing former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa to buy some more time to prove majority.

Sri Lankan president suspends parliament amid political crisis

The suspension comes after sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was seeking for an emergency session to prove his majority in the parliament by writing to the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Earlier the house was to meet on November 5, the day which was scheduled for the discussion of union budget.

Sirisena and Rajapaksa together have just 95 seats out of 225 while Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) has 106. Both the parties are short of simple majority.

Wickremesinghe said this is a created political crisis in the island nation and people must not suffer due to this. If the parliament is convened the crisis could be easily resolved as he can prove majority on the floor.

Sirisena formalized sacking of Wickremesinghe by issuing two notices. One was his removal as prime minister while the other carried information about appointment of Rajapaska as prime minister. He ordered removal of Prime Minister’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake too simultaneously.

In response to the notices Wickremesinghe said in writing to the president he is still the “constitutionally appointed Prime Minister” of the country and to command the confidence of Parliament as contemplated in article 42(4) of the constitution.

It is now up to the speaker who is to be recognized as the next prime minister of Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, leader of the Muslim Congress, Rauff Hakeem, has shown its support for Wickremesinghe saying his sacking was unconstitutional and illegal.

Mano Ganesan, Palani Digambaram, Rishath Bathiyutheen and other leaders too revealed their supports for Wickremesinghe.

For about an year bitter relations between the president and prime minister have been noticed on several policy matters, especially on economy and security.

Paul Linus