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Sri Lanka's Parliament to meet again on Friday

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Sri Lanka's Parliament would meet again on Friday, amidst a power struggle set off by President Maithripapala Sirisena's controversial move to sack prime minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe and appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

The first business on Friday would be to appoint a select committee comprising representatives from all political parties to conduct parliamentary affairs.

Both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa claim to be the prime ministers. Wickremesinghe says his dismissal is invalid because he still holds a majority in the 225-member Parliament.

"We should have the majority in the committee with ex-officio members," said Mahinda Smarasinghe, a minister.

Rajitha Senaratne, a former minister, said that since ousted prime minister Wickremesinghe's United National Front (UNF) coalition had the majority they should have the most number of representatives.

So far President Sirisena's United People's Freedom (UNF) has nominated seven members to the 15-member committee. The Marxist JVP and the main Tamil minority party, TNA have made two nominees each.

The committee composition assumes significance due to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya's refusal to recognise the government of Rajapaksa until it proved its majority. Sirisena's party accuses the speaker of being bias towards his political party, the UNP.

Last week, Sri Lanka's Parliament witnessed unprecedented violence as lawmakers threw furniture and chilli powder at each other.

Sri Lanka is witnessing a political crisis since President Sirisena abruptly sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26.

Sirisena later dissolved Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered snap election. The Supreme Court overturned Sirisena's decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls.

Speaker Jayasuriya then ordered a floor test in the 225-member assembly to end the ongoing political crisis, a move which invited the wrath of the government of Rajapaksa.

The UNP has already moved two motions of no trust against Rajapaksa and they are to move a third vote again, perhaps Friday. Rajapaksa, however, has refused to step down.

On Wednesday, Wickremesinghe's UNP handed Parliament another motion demanding suspension of funds of all ministry secretaries whom they claim had been illegally appointed since October 26.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 22 2018. 22:25 IST
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