No Ma­jor­ity for Ra­japaksa, Sirisena Dis­solves House

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Agence France Presse

Colombo: Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena on Fri­day dis­solved the Sri Lankan par­lia­ment hours af­ter his party an­nounced he did not have a ma­jor­ity to get his prime min­is­te­rial nom­i­nee Mahinda Ra­japaksa elected as PM. Sirisena signed an of­fi­cial no­ti­fi­ca­tion dismi s s i n g the 2 2 5 - me mb e r Par­lia­ment with ef­fect from Fri­day mid­night, clear­ing the way for a snap elec­tion nearly two years ahead of sched­ule, a min­is­ter said, ask­ing not to be named.

“The elec­tion is likely to be held in early Jan­uary,” the min­is­ter told AFP af­ter the United Peo­ple’s Free­dom Al­liance said they were eight leg­is­la­tors short of a ma­jor­ity in the 225-mem­ber par­lia­ment that re­mained sus­pended. The re­ac­tion of ri­val claimant for the pre­mier’s post, Ranil Wick­remesinghe — who was sacked by his erst­while coali­tion part­ner but had re­fused to leave the pre­mier’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence amid the power strug­gle — was not known. The pres­i­dent had sus­pended par­lia­ment in the hope of cob­bling up a ma­jor­ity from de­fec­tors but af­ter two weeks into a show­down with Wick­remesinghe, the Sri Lankan pres­i­dent’s party ad­mit­ted ear­lier in the day that it did not have a ma­jor­ity to get its can­di­date through a par­lia­men­tary vote of con­fi­dence.

Sirisena had on Mon­day claimed that he had the sup­port of 113 legi s l a t o r s wh e n h e sacked Wick­remesinghe and his gov­ern­ment. “Do not doubt the 113 MPs. We have com­pleted get­ting 113 MPs,” Sirisena told a pub­lic rally. The Sirisena-Ra­japaksa camp has in­sisted since the start of the dis­pute that it had enough leg­is­la­tors on its side.

“You have not let this coun­try be plunged into the dark­ness of dic­ta­tor­ship. For this in­spir­ing ef­fort, I want to thank ev­ery­one who has risen to fight for democ­racy and jus­tice,” Wick­remesinghe had said af­ter his sup­port­ers staged a noisy protest with cav­al­cade of mo­tor­cy­cles, auto-rick­shaws, cars and vans in the cap­i­tal Colombo on Thurs­day. The power strug­gle on the is­land of 21 mil­lion peo­ple has paral­ysed much of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, ac­cord­ing to leg­is­la­tors on both sides of the dis­pute. Sirisena had kept 8 cab­i­net po­si­tions va­cant to tempt leg­is­la­tors of Wick­remesinghe’s party.

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