Sri Lanka's Speaker: Compelled to recognize earlier government till Parliament majority proven

Sri Lanka's Speaker: Compelled to recognize earlier government till Parliament majority proven

Wickremesinghe who branded Sirisena's October 26 action to sack him a constitutional coup maintains that he holds majority.

President Maithripala Sirisena had prorogued parliament till 16th after appointing the new prime minister. While the President is defending the dismissal, Wickremesinghe called it illegal. It means that the speaker still recognizes a Wickremesinghe-led Parliament.

Critics of Sirisena's actions say Parliament was suspended to give Rajapaksa time to gather enough support to survive a no-confidence vote when lawmakers reconvene November 14.

At least eight legislators from the UNP and a member of an opposition party have now crossed over to the Sirisena and Rajapaksa-led United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), which had the backing of 96 legislators prior to the crisis.

According to a gazette notification, issued by his Secretary Udaya R Seneviratne on Sunday evening, the assembly would be recalled on November 14.

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena fired the sitting prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, on October 26 and appointed Rajapaksa in his place, sparking a political crisis.

"The majority of members are of the view that the changes ... are unconstitutional and against traditions", Speaker Jayasuriya said in a statement. He claims to hold a majority in the House but was unable to hold a confidence vote as Sirisena suspended the Parliament. He was sworn in as the deputy minister only on November 1.

New prime minister Rajapaksa's parliamentary strength has now been bolstered to 105 from 96.

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Jayasuriya said it was hard for him to remain silent when the norms of democracy and the rights of a majority of members of parliament had been violated.

Last week, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya joined the speaker in refusing to endorse Sirisena's controversial sacking of Wickremesinghe for Rajapakse.

Nanayakkara's defection came hours after Sirisena announced publicly that people should not doubt his majority - 113 in the 225-member legislature. Most of the 22 remaining MPs, including the TNA, are likely to oppose Rajapaksa.

Sirisena and Rajapaksa arrived at the rally amid loud cheers.

During these 10 years, Rajapaksa and his government were accused of authoritarianism, corruption and human rights abuses, especially against the country's Tamil minority.

"For the past 3 ½ years, poor people were suppressed by Ranil Wickremesinghe's economic and political vision".

"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. Now if the tides flow in Rajapaksa's favour, Sri Lanka could possibly lean towards China again, impacting the rivalry between India and China across the Indian Ocean.

Sirisena-Wickremesinghe alliance brought in the promise to lessen financial ties with China in order to reduce the debt created due to such projects.

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