Sri Lanka Parliament speaker recognises sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister

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Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was fired from his post by president Matripala Sirisena. (AP)

Days after he was sacked as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka by President Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremesinghe has been recognised as the country’s Prime Minister by Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker on Sunday. In a letter to Sirisena, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya questioned the decision to suspend the House till November 16 and said it will have “serious and undesirable” consequences on the country, PTI reported.

Citing that Wickremesinghe had obtained the mandate of the people, Jayasuriya said, “In this context continuing the prorogation of parliament until November 16 will have serious and undesirable consequences for our country and I kindly request you to reconsider same. I consider it is my duty to draw your attention to the convention that a prorogation should be one in consultation with the speaker.”

Also Read | Sri Lanka crisis deepens as Parliament suspended; India silent

In a dramatic move, former president Mahinda Rajapakse made a return to take over the reigns of the government and was sworn in as Prime Minister by Sirisena who fired Wickremesinghe from the top post on Friday. Wickremesinghe termed the move as “illegal and unconstitutional” and vowed to prove majority in Parliament. However, a day later, the Sri Lankan president suspended the Parliament till November 16 as the sacked prime minister called for an emergency session to prove majority.

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Sri Lanka crisis deepens as Parliament suspended; India silentSri Lanka crisis deepens as Parliament suspended; India silent Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (L) smiles next to President Maithripala Sirisena during their party members’ meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka., (Reuters)

The dramatic developments in Colombo were the result of a breakdown in ties between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, especially on policy issues related to economy and security. Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance announced it was leaving the National Unity Government with Wickremesinghe’s United National Party. The Rajapaksa and Sirisena combine has only 95 seats and is short of a simple majority in the 225-member House. Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) has 106 seats on its own — just seven short of the halfway mark.

Early this month, it was reported that Sirisena accused his senior coalition partner the UNP of not taking seriously an alleged conspiracy to assassinate him and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the former top defence ministry bureaucrat and brother of ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka nearly faced economic sanctions from the West over Rajapakse’s brutal military crackdown on the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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