Sunday, 17 February, 2019


Sri Lanka's Ranil Wickremesinghe is cornered by the Tiger killer, Mahinda Rajapaksa

A man walks past a poster of Sri Lanka's newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Maithripala Sirisen Image President Sirisen kicked out the incumbent PM and replaced him with Mr Rajapakse
Bennie Garza | 05 November, 2018, 10:23

Island nation Sri Lanka plunged into a political crisis after President Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and brought in former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place in a dramatic turn of events last week.

Wickremesinghe has refused to accept his dismissal, claiming to be the country's legitimate premier.

In almost nine decades of universal adult suffrage in Sri Lanka, Asia's oldest democracy has been no stranger to insurgency, civil war, assassinations and suicide bombers. His party, UNP, received only 34% compared to the 48% of the votes received by the party led by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Sri Lankan political crisis is therefore much more geopolitically pertinent than many might think.

During Rajapaksa's two terms as president, his government was credited with defeating the rebel Tamil Tigers and ending a 25-year civil conflict that pitted Sri Lanka's ethnic Sinhalese majority against its Tamil minority.

The TNA also considers the prorogation of the parliament by the President Maithripala Sirisena is undemocratic and in violation of Parliamentary Supremacy.

Of those, eight have defected to support Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, Tamil national Alliance (TNA) has made a decision to support the no-confidence motion brought by the United National party against new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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

Rajapakse loyalists are arranging a mass rally on Monday near the parliament complex to support to what the local media has dubbed a "constitutional coup".

"I was asked to make a step forward to become a cabinet minister", Bandara told reporters as he played a voice recording of a conversation he allegedly had with a Sirisena loyalist, who told him that he would be rewarded with a Cabinet position.

The billions China loaned Sri Lanka to develop the port and airport - a sign of Rajapaksa's pro-China leanings has India anxious.

Sirisena summoned Parliament to meet on Nov 5, as against Nov 16 planned earlier, as pressure grows to resolve the turmoil.

Mr Wickremesinghe said his party will step up a public campaign for Parliament to be called and he be allowed to prove his majority.

Parliament speaker Karu Jayasuriya has called a meeting for next Wednesday.

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