Ethnic Tamil party pledges vote against Sri Lankan strongman

Aaron Brown
November 5, 2018

Amid the ongoing political tension, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer met Sirisena and Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, delivering Guterres' message for the need to respect democratic values and constitutional provisions.

At least three more deputies from the TNA, which has 16 in the 225-member parliament, are expected to go over to the Rajapakse.

However, there has been no statement from President Sirisena or Prime Minister Rajapakse since then.

Sirisena, after replacing Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa, had suspended Parliament after the sacked premier sought an emergency session to prove his majority. Most of the 22 remaining MPs, including the TNA, are likely to oppose Rajapakse, observers said.

In a statement, the TNA Saturday said Rajapaksa's appointment was a violation of the Constitution's 19th amendment.

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

Huge amounts are reportedly being offered to defectors.

Tensions grew between the two parties, with lawmakers sharply disagreeing on everything from economic reforms to ways of upholding pledges to the United Nations to investigate alleged war crimes.

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A pro-democracy movement urged MPs not to sell their votes and undermine the will of the people.

Besides domestic politics, strategic experts view the political developments in Sri Lanka as the playing out of geostrategic rivalry between India and China.

The Transparency International anti-graft watchdog highlighted the country's Bribery Act which made accepting and offering inducements a jailable offense.

President Sirisena is the leader of the UPFA.

He argues that he can not legally be removed until he loses the support of Parliament and called for a floor test to prove his majority.

He made the decision a day after meeting with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who had warned of possible violence if lawmakers were not summoned immediately.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has joined the global calls for Sirisena to reinstate parliament.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, who was sworn in last Friday after the president sacked Wickremesinghe, told journalists on Thursday that President Sirisena had informed him that the parliament would convene on November 5 in order to settle the ongoing political crisis.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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