Sri Lanka President’s Party Quits Ruling Coalition

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Maithripala Sirisena has sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Colombo, Sri Lanka:

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's party on Friday withdrew from the ruling coalition, a senior minister was quoted as saying by the media.

Maithripala Sirisena has also sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former president Mahinda Rajapakse as the new premier, the president' office said.

A private television network loyal to Mr Rajapakse televised him being sworn in as the new Prime Minister, replacing Mr Wickremesinghe.

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The unity government of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) was thrown into a crisis after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's new party pulled off a stunning victory in local elections in February seen as a referendum on the ruling alliance.

The United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) withdrew from the government, UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera was quoted as saying by Daily Mirror news.

"The UPFA left the coalition government," he said.

Last week, it was reported that Mathripala 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.

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