Sirisena Says Has Majority To Form 'Formidable Government'

Blanche Robertson
November 8, 2018

Sirisena has suspended parliament, allowing Rajapakse time to tempt defectors from other parties and prove his majority.

President Sirisena said he was happy to be on the same poitical platform with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa after exactly four years.

India and Western countries also worry about his close ties to China, which loaned Sri Lanka billions of dollars for infrastructure projects during his rule, putting the country deep into debt.

Asked by The Sunday Morning if he had the full support of his own party (UNP), Wickremesinghe confirmed that he commanded its full backing.

Sirisena had on Friday promised that he would recall parliament on Wednesday to decide between two rivals claiming the lawful right to head Sri Lanka's government.

However, Wickremesinghe said the Police had launched an investigation into the allegations and that it was being seriously looked into.

The decision announced last night by President Maithripala Sirisena to summon the Parliament two days ahead of his scheduled opening won't lead to the resolving of the constitutional crisis, ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremsinghe's United National Party (UNP) senior Vajira Abeywardena said on Monday.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has called for parliament to be reconvened on the 14th of November at 10.00 am drawing sharp criticism from the country's sacked prime minister which decried it as "too late".

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Almost all politicians who left the UNP took up ministerial posts in the new cabinet.

Sunday's announcement by Sirisena came as the country's main Tamil party urged him to end the worsening political crisis.

Rajapaksa, who was the president at the time, has repeatedly said that the war was against the LTTE and not against the Tamil community.

Jayasuriya said it would be "inappropriate" for him to side either way - but official sources said he took the unusual step to avoid publicly clashing with Sirisena. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe's government of not taking seriously an alleged assassination plot against him.

While Wickremesinghe is staying on in the premier's residence called Temple Trees, Rajapaksa has taken over the offices of the prime minister following his swearing in.

The President said he offered the premiership to both Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa, but both refused.

Former Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Cabinet, State, and Deputy Ministers, Parliamentarians, Provincial Council members, and members of Local Government bodies of the United People's Freedom Alliance, religious representatives, civil society organisations and Trade Union members joined the rally.

Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans marched on Monday in support of the government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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