Sri Lankan speaker de­fies pres­i­dent

Viet Nam News - - ASIA -

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s speaker yes­ter­day de­fied the pres­i­dent’s or­der to sus­pend par­lia­ment and called a meet­ing of law­mak­ers next week to dis­cuss a wors­en­ing con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis.

“The speaker met a ma­jor­ity of MPs at a com­mit­tee room and promised he will open par­lia­ment on Novem­ber 7,” Karu Jaya­suriya’s spokesman said.

Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena’s party has said the 225-mem­ber assembly must re­main shut un­til Novem­ber 16 amid tur­moil over his sack­ing of Ranil Wick­remesinghe as prime min­is­ter.

Sirisena wants for­mer strong­man leader Mahinda Ra­japakse to run the gov­ern­ment but Wick­remesinghe has re­fused to ac­cept his dis­missal and de­manded a meet­ing of par­lia­ment to prove he has ma­jor­ity back­ing.

Jaya­suriya told more than 118 MPs, a ma­jor­ity of the House, that he could not ig­nore their de­mands to call par­lia­ment in a bid to end the im­passe.

“I have seen your pe­ti­tion to dis­re­gard the pres­i­dent’s ac­tions. I have been get­ting nu­mer­ous ap­peals from diplo­mats and civil so­ci­ety groups to in­ter­vene and end this cri­sis,” Jaya­suriya said.

Wick­remesinghe’s United Na­tional Party says that the pres­i­dent wants to shut down par­lia­ment for as long as pos­si­ble to give him­self more time to en­gi­neer de­fec­tions in sup­port of Ra­japakse.

“It is clear that Ra­japakse does not have the num­bers in par­lia­ment to jus­tify get­ting the prime min­is­ter post,” UNP spokesman Har­sha de Silva said.

“They are now try­ing to wrig­gle out of this cri­sis.” — AFP

Sri Lanka’s par­lia­ment speaker Karu Jaya­suriya (right) yes­ter­day sum­moned the coun­try’s par­lia­ment to meet next week, in de­fi­ance of the pres­i­dent, to dis­cuss a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis. — AFP/VNA Photo

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