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Sri Lanka: Previous Parliamentary status enforced until Rajapaksa proves majority

ANI | Updated: Nov 05, 2018 20:39 IST

Colombo [Sri Lanka], Nov 5 (ANI): Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Karu Jayasuriya on Monday said that he was "compelled to accept status that existed previously" in the legislative body until a clear majority was proved by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
"Even though I have remained silent so far at a time our motherland is embroiled in an unprecedented crisis. I consider it my paramount duty to act in accordance with my conscience for the protection of rights and privileges of the majority of the Members of Parliament," Jayasuriya said in a statement.
"I wish to emphasise that I am compelled to accept the status that existed previously until such time that they and the new political alliance prove their majority in Parliament," the Speaker added.
Jayasuriya confirmed that as many as 116 Members of Parliament of the United National Party, the Tamil National Alliance, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Muslim Congress had approached him saying that President Maithripala Sirisena's decision to sack Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister was "unconstitutional and undemocratic".
Meanwhile, taking to his Twitter handle, Wickremesinghe lauded the Speaker's decision, saying: "It is encouraging that the Speaker has issued a strong statement condemning the unconstitutional actions of the President."
"Protests taking place all across the island demonstrate the necessity of resolving this crisis by democratic means, within the framework of the Constitution," the former Prime Minister added.
The JVP also hailed the move with leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake stating that the President had earlier prorogued Parliament in order to lure opposition leaders to the Rajapaksa's side with black money, thus establishing a majority.
However, the Rajapaksa-led Sri Lankan government condemned the statement, requesting the Speaker to rescind it and terming it personal and politically motivated, the Daily Mirror reported.
"Making such a biased statement is unconstitutional and illegal. Decision on certain matters have to be taken according to the Constitution. The Speaker has no right to decide, who should be the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister should be appointed by the President," said Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama. (ANI)