United Nations chief asks Sri Lankan leader to revert to parliamentary procedures

Sri Lanka,Ranil Wickremesinghe,Maithripala Sirisena

An ethnic minority Tamil party in Sri Lanka said Saturday that it will support a no-confidence motion to be brought against the country's former strongman whose controversial appointment as prime minister has plunged the country into a political crisis.

Sirisena's summons comes after Wickremesinghe's UNP said on Friday that 118 lawmakers had met the speaker to demand parliament be allowed to convene. Palitha Range Bandara, a United National Party lawmaker, has said that he was offered millions of dollars and a minister portfolio if he crossed over.

Parliamentarians, including ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, have urged for an urgent parliamentary session, to identify which party held the majority in the House.

Sirisena had replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa and suspended Parliament until November 16 in an apparent attempt to give Rajapaksa time to muster enough support to survive any no-confidence vote.

On Sunday, Sirisena ordered parliament to reconvene in 10 days to resolve the protracted political crisis, drawing sharp criticism from Wickremesinghe's party which decried it as "too late".

Prior to the crisis, Wickramasinghe's UNP had the backing of 106 parliamentarians while Rajapaksa and Sirisena combine had 95 seats.

Sri Lanka also pledged to provide justice and reparations to victims of human rights violations committed during the 26-year civil war, many of which were blamed on Rajapaksa and his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was his defence secretary.

Wickremesinghe was sacked mainly over the accusation that he had failed to take strong steps to investigate the alleged plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena.

In remarks broadcast on state television, Rajapaksa told a meeting at his office that Sirisena made a decision to summon Parliament on November 5. Wickremesinghe's United National Party said they have handed over a motion of no-confidence against Rajapaksa.

In almost nine decades of universal adult suffrage in Sri Lanka, Asia's oldest democracy has been no stranger to insurgency, civil war, assassinations and suicide bombers.

"The Chinese were giving the loans and had been given the first option".

Namal's comments are aimed at persuading the legislators in Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), to switch their allegiance to Rajapaksa in his bid to prove a majority in Parliament.

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