Sri Lankan Parliament speaker refuses to accept Rajapaksa as new PM until majority’s proved

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File Photo of President Maithripala Sirisena appointing the Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister.

Sri Lanka’s speaker of the Parliament said that he would not accept Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister until he proved a majority in 225-member parliament, following President Maithripala Sirisena removing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26 and appointing the Opposition Leader into the position, Al Jazeera reported.

“The majority of the members are of the view that the changes done in the parliament are unconstitutional and against the traditions,” Karu Jayasuriya, the speaker of parliament from Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), said in a statement on Monday.

“Therefore, I am requested by the majority of the parliament to accept the position which was prior to these changes. Until the new group shows the majority, I will have to accept the status quo prior to the changes,” he said.

On Sunday, Sirisena ordered the parliament to reconvene in 10 days to resolve the political crisis, which in turn, drew sharp criticism from Wickremesinghe’s party which claimed it as “too late”.

The United Nations and several Western countries have called on Sirisena to summon the House immediately.

Mangala Samaraweera, a member of UNP, condemned Sirisena’s decision to recall parliament two days prior to the initial suspension order, saying it was “an eyewash to appease the ever increasing” international and local pressure.

While the president has the authority to appoint the prime minister, he does not have the power to sack the incumbent, legal experts have said, stating constitutional amendments which had been passed three years ago.

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