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Sri Lankan rival parties argue over result of no confidence vote

China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-15 08:06

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his replacement Mahinda Rajapakse each claimed they were the rightful leaders following a no confidence vote against Rajapakse ended in chaos in the parliament on Wednesday.

Hours after the parliament was adjourned, Wickremesinghe said the motion had been passed with a majority through a "voice vote".

He told journalists in a media briefing from the parliamentary complex that 122 legislators in the 225-member parliament had signed a motion favoring the no confidence vote, and it was handed to Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

"Now that the motion has been passed, the government which ruled before Oct 26 will come back into effect. I am informing the police and state officials not to carry out any orders handed over by the illegal government," Wickremesinghe said.

However, Dinesh Gunawardena, a legislator from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party headed by Rajapakse, said the vote of no confidence had been invalid as the parliament speaker had not followed the normal parliamentary traditions by calling for an electronic vote.

He said the new government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Rajapakse would continue in office and all ministries would continue to function under the new regime.

The parliament was thrown into chaos earlier on Wednesday after a no confidence motion against Rajapakse was presented to Speaker Jayasuriya.

The no confidence motion was presented by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party legislator Anura Kumara Dissanayaka and seconded by JVP legislator Vijitha Herath.

However, when the motion was taken up for a vote, legislators from Rajapakse's party broke out in protest, prompting the prime minister to leave the floor of the House and the parliament session was adjourned till Thursday.

The parliamentary meeting was held amid tight security with thousands of armed police and anti-riot units.

Sri Lanka has been embroiled in political unrest since Oct 26, when Sirisena surprisingly sacked his cabinet and Wickremesinghe and appointed former president Rajapakse to the post and appointed a new caretaker government.

Wickremesinghe's United National Party called the sacking illegal and called for the parliament to convene to prove their majority.

Then on Friday, Sirisena dissolved the parliament and called for a snap parliamentary election in January, but the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, day-to-day administration remains paralyzed as the crisis drags on and there are growing fears for the economy and Sri Lanka's ability to repay its huge foreign debts.

Xinhua - Afp

(China Daily 11/15/2018 page11)

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