Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Sri Lanka’s ousted PM says US, Japan freeze aid over political crisis

Sri Lanka’s ousted PM says US, Japan freeze aid over political crisis

Sirisena had suspended parliamentary proceedings until November 16 after abruptly firing Prime Minister Wickremesinghe last week and replacing him with Rajapaksa.

Critics of Sirisena's actions say Parliament was suspended to give Rajapaksa time to gather enough support to survive a no-confidence vote when lawmakers reconvene November 14.

Rajapaksa is known as a Sri Lankan nationalist, while being close to China.

Supporters of Mr. Rajapaksa at the rally chanted "Whose power is this?"

On Friday, 118 members of the 225-seat legislature met the speaker and called for the reconvening of parliament.

"Countries are sensitive, they have concerns (about a government led by Rajapaksa) democratic countries have concerns", he said in the interview conducted in the prime minister's official residence in a colonial-era bungalow where Wickremesinghe is camping along with his supporters. On Sunday, Sirisena said parliament would be recalled on November 14.

Whereas ousted PM Wickremesinghe argued that what Sirisena did was unconstitutional because as per Article 46 (2) of the 19th Amendment of the constitution passed in 2015, the president can not sack a Prime Minister who enjoys majority support in parliament.

Sri Lanka's speaker of parliament said on Monday he would not accept a former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the new prime minister until he proves he commands a majority in parliament.

The announcement made in a decree Sunday comes amid a political crisis in the South Asian island nation.

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But his faction has pressed ahead with forming a new government, naming an ally to a senior leadership post in parliament despite the speaker refusing to recognise the appointment.

"For the past 3 ½ years, poor people were suppressed by Ranil Wickremesinghe's economic and political vision".

"Foreign countries are trying to take our resources, take our land", said Mithra Kumara Jayasinghe, a wedding photographer at the rally who said he had voted for Mr Rajapaksa the two times he was elected president, in 2005 and 2010, and when he lost a re-election bid in 2015.

President Sirisena said he appointed a new person who is state friendly and who has a clear vision for the country and one who would not bow down to foreign agendas.

The UNP has handed over a motion of no trust against Rajapaksa. He was also critical of investigations into military personnel accused of human rights violations during the civil war.

The unity government was formed in 2015 when Sirisena was elected President with Wickremesinghe's support, ending a almost decade-long rule by Rajapaksa.

The Prime Minister was addressing the "Rata Rakina Jana Mahimaya" public protest rally at the Parliament Junction, Battaramulla.

Last week, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya joined the speaker in refusing to endorse Sirisena's controversial sacking of Wickremesinghe for Rajapakse.

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