Published: Thu, November 08, 2018

Won’t accept Rajapaksa as PM till he proves majority: Sri Lanka Speaker

Won’t accept Rajapaksa as PM till he proves majority: Sri Lanka Speaker

The tough statement from Jayasuriya came after Sirisena announced on Sunday that parliament would reconvene on November 14, a week later than he had promised.

Sirisena said at the rally that he would not be discouraged by resistance in Parliament, civil society and the worldwide community to his actions.

Jayasuriya said most members of parliament had called on him not to accept the changes.

I wish to emphasize that I am compelled to accept the status that existed previously until such time that the new political alliance prove their majority in Parliament, he added.

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.

The reconvention of parliament by the president seems to suggest that Rajapaksa has the votes needed to be confirmed in the coming days. On Sunday, Sirisena said parliament would be recalled on November 14.

The political developments had no negative impact on tourism, new Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama said at the press conference. Jayasuriya, however, refused to do so saying he was powerless unless the president consented.

Legislators have been switching sides ever since the island nation was plunged into a political and constitutional crisis with Sirisena's move to sack Wickremesinghe last month. They have delayed the date for reconvening parliament so that they could buy over MPs.

The Prime Minister was addressing the "Rata Rakina Jana Mahimaya" public protest rally at the Parliament Junction, Battaramulla. Some members of his party have already alleged they were offered portfolios and huge amounts of money to switch allegiances.

Political opponents, rights groups and foreign governments including United States have urged Mr Sirisena to summon Parliament immediately and end the crisis.

According to latest counts, Wickremesinghe now has 102 MPs from the 225-seat assembly after another defection while Rajapakse and Sirisena also have 102. The prime minister can only be dismissed if the Cabinet of ministers is dismissed, the prime minister resigns or the prime minister ceases to be a member of parliament. He claims to hold a majority in the House but was unable to hold a confidence vote as Sirisena suspended the Parliament.

He announced the dismissal on a live television session on October 26, 2018, where he also announced the appointment of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man he joined forces with Wickremesinghe to defeat. "I trust you and you can always trust me", Rajapaksa said.

Supporters at the rally chanted "Whose power is this?"

Sirisena made the decision after his United People's Freedom Alliance pulled out of the national unity government which it had formed with Wickremesinghe's United National Party.

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