Sri Lankan President defends his decision to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lankan President defends his decision to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lankan President defends his decision to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

The nation of 21-million has been gripped by constitutional turmoil since Sirisena sacked his former ally, prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and his cabinet on October 26 - appointing former president Mahinda Rajapakse in his place.

In the statement released on Monday in Sinhala, Mr. Jayasuriya said a majority of members in Parliament have submitted a petition to him stating that the changes made in Parliament recently by President Sirisena were unconstitutional. Rajapaksa is credited as a hero by Sri Lanka's ethnic Sinhalese majority for ending the conflict.

The move to hold back project financing, along with the EU's warning it could withdraw duty-free concessions for Sri Lankan exports if it didn't stick to commitments on national reconciliation, will further strain the economy, Wickremesinghe said in an interview.

Sirisena was supported by Wickremesinghe three years ago but the two men have gradually drifted apart, leading to Wickremesinghe's shock sacking last month.

Representatives of the new government under former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa have offered lawmakers positions and money in exchange for their support, Wickremesinghe claimed.

Namal's comments are aimed at persuading the legislators in Sri Lanka's main Tamil party - Tamil National Alliance (TNA) - to switch their allegiance to Rajapaksa in his bid to prove majority in the parliament.

"The Chinese were giving the loans and had been given the first option".

Negotiated during the tenure of Rajapaksa as President, the repayments for the port are said to have pushed Sri Lanka into a debt-trap. The Sirisena government's plan with the UN Human Rights Council to investigate soldiers accused in the deaths, kidnappings and forced disappearance of civilians and journalists could be shelved because of a hard-line element in Rajapaksa's government that considers prosecuting soldiers engaged in the civil war unpatriotic.

Our final topic, picked by you, dear listeners, earlier in a poll on our Facebook page, is "Sri Lanka: A Pro-Chinese Constitutional Coup?", focusing on the latest drama in this Indian Ocean island nation. Rajapaksa's return could increase China's clout in Sri Lanka.

As a result, Rajapaksa will not be given the Prime Minister seat in Parliament as the current government members will need to sit in the opposition seats, reports said.

Sirisena has suspended parliament, allowing Rajapaksa time to tempt defectors from other parties and prove his majority.

On Friday, 119 lawmakers in the 225-member parliament signed a letter urging Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to reconvene the body immediately.

"Former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is responsible for selling the country's assets and resources that are to the people and the future generations to foreign countries".

India will have to keep a keen watch on the developments and ensure that the island does not take a Chinese turn.

Related news