Sri Lankan Crisis: Court Bars Rajapaksa From Acting as PM
Sri Lankan President Maithripala  Sirisena lifted the suspension of Parliament on 1 November. 
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena lifted the suspension of Parliament on 1 November. (Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Sri Lankan Crisis: Court Bars Rajapaksa From Acting as PM

A Sri Lankan court Monday, 3 December, barred Mahinda Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister.

Earlier a CNN-New18 report said, Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena may repeal the order to dissolve the Assembly.

Another source told the TV channel that Sirisena wanted a “dignified exit” by recalling the dissolution order as the top court was unlikely to rule in his favour.

Earlier on 9 November, Sirisena had dissolved the parliament in order to “avoid violence in the House” and announced snap elections for January.

The state plunged into a political crisis when, on 26 October, President Sirisena sacked then-prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed strongman ex-prime minister Rajapaksa as the new PM.

Snapshotclose

  • Opponents of Rajapaksa win control of panel in Parliament
  • Sri Lankan Parliament met again on 23 November
  • A select committee to conduct parliamentary affairs was to be formed
  • Lawmakers had submitted a motion to suspend Rajapaksa’s expenses on 19 November

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Crisis Deepens as Sri Lankan President Suspends Parliament

Sri Lanka's president suspended Parliament even as the prime minister he fired the previous day, on 26 October, claimed that he has majority support, adding to a growing political crisis in the South Asian island nation.

Chaminda Gamage, a spokesperson for the parliamentary speaker, confirmed that President Maithripala Sirisena had suspended Parliament until 16 November. He made the move while ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was holding a news conference Saturday, 27 October, in which he asserted that he could prove his majority support in the chamber.

Hope Democratic Values are Maintained in Sri Lanka: MEA

The Minister of External Affairs, on Sunday 28 October, said that India is closely following the developments in Sri Lanka. The MEA said that India hopes that constitutional integrity and democratic values are maintained in the neighbouring country.

Ousted Prime Minister Refuses to Vacate Residence

Sri Lanka's sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has also resisted moves to evict him from his official residence, as his controversial successor sought blessings at a prominent temple ahead of naming a new cabinet, AFP reported.

The new ruling party had given Wickremesinghe till Sunday, 28 October, morning to leave the Temple Trees official residence following his shock dismissal on Friday, 26 October, that has plunged the Indian Ocean island into constitutional turmoil.

Officials said police will now seek a court order to evict Wickremesinghe, whose security and official cars were also withdrawn by President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday, 27 October.

SL Speaker Recognises Wickremesinghe As PM

Sri Lankan Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Sunday, 28 October, recognised Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, three days after he was sacked by the President.

Amidst the political crisis, Sri Lanka's Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on 28 October, requested President Maithripala Sirisena to ensure that ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's privileges were protected.

In a letter to the President, Jayasuriya said:

“I consider it my foremost duty to protect the rights and privileges of all MPs, especially in the context of the serious political or constitutional crisis which has arisen in the country.”

"I have received a request to protect the rights and privileges of Ranil Wickremesinghe until any other person emerges from within Parliament as having secured the confidence of Parliament," the Colombo Page quoted him as saying.

Two Injured As Minister's Bodyguards Open Fire

Two people have been injured after Petroleum Minister Arjun Ranatunga’s bodyguard opened fire in Colombo, amidst political crisis in Sri Lanka, reported Tamil news channel Puthiya Thalaimurai.

According to an AFP report, a mob loyal to President Sirisena tried to take Ranatunga hostage, following which his bodyguards opened fire.

Rajapaksa's Prime Ministership Constitutional, Says Sirisena

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, addressing the nation on the political crisis, asserted that the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister was made in “accordance with constitution.”

President Sirisena added that Wickremesinghe “grossly violated” the principles of good governance and the former prime minister’s negligence to investigate the “strong plot” to assassinate him, forced him to appoint a new government.

“Once in the government, Wickremesinghe arrogantly and stubbornly avoided collective decisions, and tended to take individual decisions. This behaviour led to many conflicts. Due to his lack of collective decision making through discussion, our country had to face harsh consequences when he used to take decisions with a group of his very close associates.”
Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lankan President

One Person Dead in SL Shooting

One person is dead after Petroleum Minister Arjun Ranatunga’s bodyguard opened fire in Colombo, amidst political crisis in Sri Lanka, reported AFP.

Wickremesinghe Govt Fell Because UPFA Pulled Out: Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa who has been recently appointed as the new prime minister of Sri Lanka, issued a statement, saying that the previous government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe ended because the UNP-UPFA government came to an end.

“As the result of the UPFA leaving the UNP coalition, I was invited to accept the position of PM with a view of forming a new govt," said Rajapaksa in a statement.

Leader of Opposition Asks Speaker to Summon Assembly

Leader of Opposition R Sampanthan called on the Speaker of Sri Lankan parliament to summon the assembly to enable it to perform “legitimate functions.”

He also added that he recognised the “necessity of upholding the supremacy of the Constitution.”

Sirisena's Move to Sack PM a Constitutional Coup: Lankan Media

Sri Lankan media has described President Maithripala Sirisena’s “dramatic move” to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appoint former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa as the successor, a “constitutional coup.”

(PTI)

Newly Appointed PM Rajapaksa Calls for Elections

Sri Lanka's newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday, 28 October, called for a snap parliamentary election to allow people to vote for a new programme to overcome the island nation's economic and political crisis.

This was the first public statement by the former strongman since President Maithripala Sirisena appointed him as the new premier after sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday, 26 October, night.

“The primary objective of the political party leaders and parliamentarians who have joined me, is to immediately hold the provincial council elections that had been postponed continuously and also to call a parliamentary election as soon as possible, so as to give the people the opportunity to vote for a programme that will bring the country out of the encompassing economic, political and social crisis.”
Mahinda Rajapaksa

(PTI)

Deceased Identified as MRPA Rajapaksa, Shooter Arrested

The one person killed in the shooting, where the Petroleum Minister’s bodyguard open fired at the crowd in Colombo, has been identified as MRPA Rajapaksa, who succumbed to his injuries, after being admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo.

At least three others were injured in the shooting incident, and are undergoing treatment at the Hospital.

The Minister’s bodyguard, who fired the shots, has been arrested.

(ANI)

Secretary-General of UN, Commonwealth Express Concern Over Crisis

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres and Patricia Scotland, have both expressed concern over the political chaos plaguing Sri Lanka.

In a post shared on the United Nations official handle, the organisation said that Guterres had asked the Government to respect democratic values, uphold the rule of law & ensure the safety and security of all Sri Lankans.

Scotland too, in a statement which was shared on the Commonwealth official website, encouraged “the political leadership and national institutions of the country to uphold the rule of law and comply with Sri Lanka’s constitutional framework in resolving the current challenges.”

President Xi Jinping Congratulates Rajapaksa on Appointment

Even as the Ministry of External Affairs, UN and Commonwealth leaders expressed concern over the developments in Sri Lanka following Rajapaksa’s appointment, Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first world leader to congratulate the newly-appointed Prime Minister, thus legitimising Sri Lankan President Sirisena’s action.

US Urges Sri Lanka President to 'Immediately Reconvene Parliament'

The US State Department on Sunday, 28 October, called on Sri Lanka's president to "immediately reconvene parliament" to allow representatives there to quell a violent constitutional crisis sparked by the prime minister's sudden sacking.

"We urge all sides to refrain from intimidation and violence," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"We call on the President, in consultation with the Speaker, to immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfill their responsibility to affirm who will lead their government."

(Source: PTI)

President Alleges Assassination Plot by Cabinet Minister

Sri Lanka's president on Sunday, 28 October, said he sacked his prime minister mainly because of the alleged involvement of a Cabinet minister in a plot to assassinate him.

In a televised address to the nation, President Maithripala Sirisena said a person questioned by investigators had revealed the name of a minister in an alleged plot to assassinate him and a former defense secretary.

He said the only choice for him under the circumstances was to dismiss Ranil Wickremesinghe and invite his former nemesis and ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa to take over as prime minister and form a new government.

"This information (received by investigators) contains a number of details hitherto hidden to the people," Sirisena said. "The informant has made a statement regarding a Cabinet minister involved in the conspiracy to assassinate me."

'China Monitoring SL Political Crisis Closely'

China on Monday, 29 October, said it is closely monitoring "the political turmoil" in Sri Lanka but maintained that it is the internal affairs of the country and hoped that the relevant political parties can resolve their differences through dialogue and consultations.

Asked about China's stand on the current political crisis in Sri Lanka considering that Beijing has made huge investments in the island nation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told media here that China is following the crisis closely.

“The changes in Sri Lankan situation belongs to its internal affairs. We believe the Sri Lankan government political parties and people have enough wisdom to deal with the internal situation,” he said.

"China sincerely hopes that the relevant parties in Sri Lanka can properly resolve differences through dialogue and consultations and safeguard the national stability and development," he said.

Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Warns of Bloodbath Amid Political Crisis

As the political crisis deepens in Sri Lanka, the Parliament speaker Karu Jayasuriya warned on Monday that it could turn into a “bloodbath” as the ousted pritme minister said the country is facing a dangerous power vacuum, AFP reported.

Jayasuriya had asked President Maithripala Sirisena to revoke the suspension of the parliament and allow lawmakers to resolve an alarming power struggle.

“We should settle this through parliament, but if we take it out to the streets, there will be a huge bloodbath,” Jayasuriya told reporters.

Arjuna Ranatunga Arrested

Former Sri Lankan cricket captain and minister Arjuna Ranatunga was arrested in Colombo, on Monday, 29 October, over his role in a shooting that killed one, reported AFP.

According to media reports, a mob tried to take Ranatunga hostage, when his bodyguards opened fire.

India Continues to Stay Disengaged in Sri Lanka Crisis

Although newly sworn-in Prime Minister Rajapaksa has reportedly sent “feelers” to several Indian officials, India has maintained its stance of disengagement with the internal crisis in Sri Lanka, The Economic Times reported.

According to what government officials told the newspaper, India did not wish for any of its actions to be seen as acknowledging Rajapaksa as the new prime minister of the country, even more so now that the Speaker refused to endorse the sacking of Wickremasinghe.

Ranatunga Gets Bail

Former Sri Lankan team cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who was was arrested earlier on Monday, 29 October, for his role in a shooting incident that left one dead and two others injured in Colombo, was later produced before the Colombo magistrate and granted bail by the evening.

(News18)

Mass Protest Rally in Lanka Against Ousted PM's Sacking

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Colombo on Tuesday, 30 October, at a mass rally organised by ousted Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's party against what it said was a "coup" by President Maithripala Sirisena, amid efforts by opposing sides to secure their numbers in Parliament to end the country's political crisis.

Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) demanded that Parliament be convened immediately and democracy restored. Wickremesinghe said that President Maithripala Sirisena had assumed he would get his way.

However, he said the UNP and its partners in the United National Front will not give up and will continue to push for Parliament to convene immediately.

Indian Diplomats in Talks With Rajapaksa's Camp: Officials

Rajapaksa being selected as Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister is a matter of concern for India, considering that he was favourable to China in his tenure as President. As a result, Indian diplomats, too, have started to conduct talks with members of Rajapaksa’s camp, officials told Reuters.

They added that India would be ready to do business with Sri Lanka under Rajapaksa, as long as his appointment went in line with the country’s constitution.

According to the news agency, several RSS workers also relayed that the party reached out to the Rajapaksa government to “promote ties”.

Sri Lankan President Lifts Suspension of Parliament

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena lifts suspension of Parliament.

Parliament to Meet on 5 November

Sri Lanka's president has summoned the Parliament to meet next week as pressure grows for him to resolve the turmoil set off when he sacked the Cabinet last week, his chosen prime minister said on Thursday.

President Maithripala Sirisena made the decision a day after meeting with Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who previously warned of possible violence if lawmakers were not summoned immediately.

In remarks broadcast on state television, Rajapaksa told a meeting at his office that Sirisena decided to summon Parliament on 5 November.

Don't See Chinese Hand: Ousted PM Wickremasinghe

Ousted Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said to NDTV that the president’s order of lifting the suspension of Parliament was a victory for him and that he has the numbers to prove majority.

“I am the PM until I fail the floor test or elections occur so changes in the policy is not the question. That’s victory for us that the Parliament is convened. There has to be a floor test and I have the numbers,” he said.

He also said that he doesn’t see any Chinese involvement behind his sacking.

Sri Lanka Risks EU Trade Concessions Over Political Slide Back

The European Union has said that it will consider stripping Sri Lanka of its duty-free access if it backs off commitments on rights amid worries that have emerged from the president’s replacing of the elected premier by a wartime nationalist, Reuters reported.

The European Union is worried that the return of Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister, could derail the halting progress made towards national reconciliation following a war with ethnic minority Tamil separatists that killed tens of thousands, many during the final stages under his watch as president.

Sri Lankan President Delays Reconvening of Parliament till 14 November

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday announced reconvening of Parliament on 14 November, which he had suspended last month, two days after sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe and replacing him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksha.

According to a gazette notification, issued by his Secretary Udaya R Seneviratne on Sunday evening, the assembly would be recalled on 14 November.

Ousted PM Wickremesinghe termed the Sri Lankan president's move as "unconstitutional and illegal" and refused to leave the official residence, claiming he was still the legally appointed prime minister.

He also demanded a floor test in Parliament, following which Sirisena had suspended Parliament on 28 October till 16 November.  

Foreign governments, rights groups, the United Nations have urged Sirisena to summon Parliament immediately and end the crisis.

Thousands of Sri Lankans also protested in Colombo last week demanding Sirisena immediately convene Parliament.

Thousands March In Support of Mahinda Rajapaksha

Thousands of supporters marched on Monday, 5 November, in Sri Lanka backing the new government. Amid the constitutional crisis in the Indian Ocean island nation, the rally comes after Mahinda Rajapaksha replaced ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Wickremesinghe has refused to vacate his official residence claiming he is the lawful prime minister and that the president had no constitutional right to replace him. Thousands of his supporters have been keeping vigil.

Supporters at the rally chanted "Whose power is this? Mahinda's power!"

As patriotic songs blared over loudspeakers, thousand shuffled through heavy rain toward a makeshift stage. Police and Sri Lankan special forces with semi-automatic rifles stood guard.

(With inputs from AP)

US, Japan Freeze Aid Over Crisis: Wickremesinghe

In an interview to Reuters, ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the US and Japan have frozen over a billion dollars of development aid after he was abruptly sacked, that has raised doubts about the future of the island nation.

On 4 November, Wickremesinghe told Reuters that the Sri Lankan economy will be strained further if the project financing is held back, along with the warning from European Union (EU) that it could withdraw reconciliation.

He said the US has held off $500 million aid programme fir highways and improving land administration by the government-aided Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). At the same time, Japan has also put a soft loan of $1.4 billion for a light railway project on hold.

According to Business Line, the US Embassy in Colombo has not commented on the matter.

'Difficult Times To Stay Silent': Parliament Speaker Writes To President

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@RW_UNP)

Speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament, Karu Jayasuriya wrote to the President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday, 5 November. Jayasuria said that as per the request submitted to him by the 116 Members of Parliament, the president’s decision are "unconstitutional" and "undemocratic" and the Members of the Parliament are not in agreement with the "said" decision.

He wrote that the president had conveyed to him during their meeting on 1 November that he would pay attention to the request made by him to summon the Parliament. "Though it did not materialise," Jayasuriya wrote.

If I am to follow the verbal assurance given by His Excellency the President, it is my duty as Speaker to summon Parliament by 7th November and restore stability in the country. 
Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of Parliament

He also stated in the letter that it is "difficult for him to stay silent in the face of severe violation of democratic principles, forcible taking over of administration of media institutions and other public sector institutions disregarding the moderate employees and information to the effect the various perks and privileges are offered to Members of Parliament."

UNP MP Rajitha Senaratne Meets President

United National Party (UNP) MP Dr Rajitha Senaratne on Monday, 5 November, told Sri Lankan media that he delivered the President Maithripala Sirisena to party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

According to Daily Mirror, Senaratne said the president explained to him why he appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister. "I then explained to him how his actions have affected the country. Later, I met Mr Wickremesinghe and briefed him about the meeting," he said.

He said that his meeting with the president has "created a positive situation" and though the meeting was successful, what results it will yield will be determined when "it comes to implementing" what the two agreed upon.

Ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Urges Resolution of Crisis

Ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Monday condemned the situation in Sri Lanka, stressing on the necessity if resolving the crisis by democratic means.

He also tweeted the photo of the Speaker’s statement given earlier in the day, saying that such statement from the speaker is encouraging.

Speaker Jayasuriya Urges President Sirisena for Floor Test to Prove Rajapaksa's Majority

Sri Lankan Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said 7 November he wanted a floor test in parliament on 14 November, to resolve the issue of two prime ministers in the country.

Jayasuriya said he had met party representatives to finalise the agenda for November 14 when the current suspension of parliament by President Sirisena would end.

He said the government argued that parliament should not vote for a floor test on the day and should limit its sessions to day's business.

"After giving a fair hearing to both sides, the speaker expressed his stand. The need for the determination of majority, as requested by 116 members previously in writing to suspend standing orders of parliament, after the conclusion of the day's business to allow each side to display their majorities in order to have a stable government," a statement from Mr Jayasuriya's office said.

Ouster PM Wickremesinghe Says, Willing to Work With Sirisena

Speaking to The Hindu, ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he doesn’t have any “problem” working with President Sirisena.

“I’ll have no problem working with him, that’s a question you must ask him. The Constitution doesn’t make provision for personal prejudices.”

No Snap Election, No Referendum to End Political Crisis in Lanka: President's Aide

A close aid of President Maithripala Sirisena said that the President has decided that there will be no snap elections or a national referendum to end the current political and constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka.

"No, no there won't be a dissolution of parliament or a referendum," Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa, the general secretary of President Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party, told the party's central committee meeting Thursday, 8 November.

EU Demands Sri Lanka's Political Crisis' End

The European Union on Friday, 9 November, demanded an end to Sri Lanka's political crisis stating the island nation's international reputation and investments were at risk.

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena Dissolves Parliament Amid Power Struggle

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena dissolves parliament on Friday, 9 November, amid power struggle, reported news agency AFP.

KEY EVENT

Sri Lanka to Hold Snap Election on 5 January: President Sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena said on Friday, 9 November, that Sri Lanka will be holding snap election on 5 January, reported AFP.

Earlier on Friday, the president of the island nation had dissolved the Parliament amid a deepening political crisis.

The dissolution of the Parliament comes into force at midnight on Friday, while the new parliament would be convened on 17 January, reported Al Jazeera.

Ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party “vehemently” rejected the dissolution of the Parliament and called it illegal.

Meanwhile, Mahinda Rajapaksa supported a general election so as to “make way for a stable country”.

Sri Lanka's Main Party Says Will Challenge Sacking of Parliament in Court

Sri Lanka's largest single party on Saturday said it will mount a legal challenge against "tyrant" President Maithripala Sirisena's shock sacking of the legislature, news agency AFP reported.

"We will go to the courts," Mangala Samaraweera from the United National Party (UNP) told reporters in Colombo.

“We will fight in the courts, we will fight in parliament and we will fight at the polls.”
Mangala Samaraweera, United National Party

Samaraweera said his party had supported Sirisena to come to power in January 2015, hoping he would be a benevolent leader like Nelson Mandela of South Africa, but that he had shown himself to be a "tyrant."

President Sirisena Usurped Power: Speaker

Sri Lanka's parliamentary Speaker accused President Maithripala Sirisena of 'usurping' the rights of legislators and asked public servants not to carry out his 'illegal orders', according to AFP.

KEY EVENT

Rajapaksa Ends Association With Sirisena’s Party, Joins SLPP

Sri Lankan strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed prime minister in a controversial move by President Maithripala Sirisena, on 11 November ended his five-decade-long association with the SLFP and joined the newly-formed Sri Lanka People's Party (SLPP).

Rajapaksa's move signalled that he would contest the snap polls, to be held on 5 January, under his own party banner and not that of Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

KEY EVENT

Dissolved Parliament to Avoid Violence: Sri Lanka President

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday said that he decided to dissolve Parliament and call for fresh elections to avoid possible violence in Parliament if a vote was taken to decide on who commands the majority support to become prime minister.

Sirisena, in his address to the nation on Sunday, said he heard stories of possible violence in Parliament that could even result in deaths and clashes spreading around the country after Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced he was going to call for a vote to see whether Sirisena’s choice for prime minister, former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, commanded enough support.

Sri Lanka SC to Deliver Verdict on Legality of Snap Polls

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court will announce its verdict on the legality of the snap polls, to be held on 5 January, announced by Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday, 13 November, reported ANI.

Thirteen fundamental rights petitions have been filed against the dissolution of the parliament stating the President doesn’t have the power to dissolve the house under the 19th amendment of the Constitution.

KEY EVENT

Sri Lanka Supreme Court Overturns Sacking Of Parliament

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on Tuesday, 13 November, overturned the sacking of parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena, reported AFP.

Earlier on 9 November, Sirisena had dissolved the parliament in order to avoid violence in the House.

KEY EVENT

Sri Lanka Parliament Passes No Confidence Motion Against Rajapaksa

Lanka parliament passed a no confidence motion against newly appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

KEY EVENT

Lawmakers Supporting Rajapaksa Throw Books and Chair in the House

Lawmakers supporting Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa violently demonstrated in the House to prevent the proceedings from taking place on Friday, 16 November.

Supporters threw books and chairs at police who escorted Speaker Karu Jayasuriya into the chamber, and did not allow him to sit in the Speaker's chair. Jayasuriya later adjourned the house using a microphone until Monday, 19 November.

The speaker had earlier announced there was no prime minister or government after the no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa, which was refused by Rajapaksa who questioned the speaker’s authority.

Crucial Talks Fail to Solve Crisis

On Sunday, 18 November, president Sirisena chaired the meeting attended by Rajapaksa, Wickremesinghe and other political leaders. Talks came two days after the parliament passed the second no-confidence motions against Rajapaksa who has so far refused to accept the results of the motion and continues to perform as prime minister.

Lanka Parliament Speaker to Get Tough After Lawmakers' Brawl

(Photo: AP)

Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Monday, 19 November, warned that he will come down hard on those responsible for violence inside the House on 16 November amid the ongoing political turmoil in the country.

"The speaker informed the party leaders that he had already called for a report on the ugly and illegal behaviour such as bringing in weapons to the chamber, chilli powder attacks, causing damage to public property, exchange of fisticuffs and other breaches of discipline," said a statement by the speaker.

Lawmakers Submit Motion to Suspend Expenses of Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan lawmakers submitted a motion Monday, 19 November, to suspend the expenses of disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

A lawmaker from the Marxist Peoples' Liberation Front, which is opposed to Rajapaksa, said last week's passing of the no-confidence motions meant that Rajapaksa's office and the government had ceased to exist and therefore has no power to spend public money.

Political Parties Agree to Form a Select Committee

Political parties in Sri Lanka on Monday, 19 November, agreed to form a select committee to conduct parliamentary affairs.

Sri Lanka's Parliament, which was convened on Monday for a third floor test against disputed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, was adjourned just ten minutes after its opening as the lawmakers could not decide on the members of the committee.

Sri Lanka's Parliament to Meet Again on 23 Nov in Colombo

Sri Lanka's Parliament would meet again on Friday, 23 November, amidst a power struggle set off by President Maithripapala Sirisena's controversial move to sack prime minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe and appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

The first business would be to appoint a select committee comprising representatives from all political parties to conduct parliamentary affairs.

Speaker Announces Vote of Confidence, 121 MPs Vote Against Rajapaksa

The Sri Lankan Parliament’s speaker, as the Parliament convened on 23 November announced a vote of support for the Rajapaksa-led UPFA, a Sri Lankan media house reported.

A vote was taken by name through the electronic voting system and the opposition secured the control of the committee with 121 voting for and none against.

Opponents of Rajapaksa Win Control of Panel in Parliament

Lawmakers opposed to disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa won control of a key committee setting Parliament's agenda during a crucial vote on Friday that dealt a severe blow to his government.

Sri Lanka has been in political crisis since 26 October when the president abruptly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa. Both claim to be the legitimate officeholder with Wickremesinghe saying he has majority support in Parliament and his firing was invalid.

President Vows Never to Reappoint Wickremesinghe as PM

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday made it clear that he would never reappoint ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe even as he accepted that the action of removing his arch-rival has created "some form of political unrest" in the country, PTI reported.

Sirisena last month abruptly sacked Wickeremesinghe and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapksa in a controversial move termed by many as unconstitutional.

Lanka Parliament Bars Rajapaksa From Using State Funds

Sri Lankan Parliament on Thursday, 29 November, overwhelmingly passed a motion to suspend the expenditure of the Prime Minister's Office, dealing a major blow to strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa who was appointed premier by President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial move that plunged the country into a constitutional crisis.

The motion was passed with 123 lawmakers voting in favour of the motion and none opposing it in the 225-member House as Rajapaksa's supporters boycotted the session.

Sirisena May Repeal Order to Dissolve Assembly

According to a report in CNN-New18, Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena may repeal his order to dissolve the Assembly.

A source close to the President told News18, “There is a possibility of withdrawing the gazette.” Another source told the TV channel that Sirisena wanted a “dignified exit” by recalling the dissolution order, as the top court was unlikely to rule in his favour.

Sri Lankan Court Bars Rajapaksa From Acting as Prime Minister

A Sri Lankan court Monday, 3 December, barred Mahinda Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister, in a major set back to President Maithripala Sirisena who had installed his former rival in place of Ranil Wickremesinghe in a controversial decision.

The Appeal Court issued notice and an interim order against Rajapaksa and his Government, preventing them from acting as Prime Minister, Cabinet and Deputy Ministers, Colombo Gazette reported.

(PTI)

Rajapaksa to Move SC Against Order Barring Him From Acting as PM

Sri Lankan strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed premier in a controversial move by President Maithripala Sirisena, will move the Supreme Court Tuesday against a lower court order, which barred him from acting as prime minister.

The Court of Appeal temporary on Monday, 3 December, halted Rajapaksa and his Cabinet from functioning in their positions in response to a case filed by 122 legislators against the disputed government.

The court set the hearing of the case for December 12 and 13.

"We will not agree with the interim order issued by the Court of Appeal today suspending the cabinet. We will appeal to the Supreme Court tomorrow against it," Rajapaksa said in a press statement.

He said it was the Supreme Court, which has the power to interpret the Constitution.

The interim ruling was a major blow to both President Sirisena and Rajapaksa after the former had appointed his ex-rival as the prime minister on October 26, plunging the country into a major constitutional crisis.

Ranil Wickremesinghe Likens Maithripala Sirisena to Hitler

Sri Lanka's toppled premier likened the President Maithripala Sirisena to Hitler on Tuesday, 4 December, as he demanded to be reinstated, almost six weeks into a paralysing political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.

Ranil Wickremesinghe made the comments -- his strongest yet directed at the head of state -- at the prime minister's official residence, which he has refused to vacate since his dismissal in October.

"The president has to appoint me prime minister as I command a majority in parliament," he said.

(Source: NDTV)

Sirisena Says Lankan Political Crisis to End in 7 Days

President Maithripala Sirisena in a tweet on 4 December, said that the current political will not drag beyond seven days.

“The current political crisis will not drag on beyond seven days. I have always taken decisions in the best interest of the country and the people,” his tweet read.

Ongoing Crisis One Between Foreign and Local Values: Sirisena

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has described the ongoing political crisis in the country as one between foreign and local values.

"This is an issue between those who believe in foreign thinking and those who respect local values", Sirisena said Sunday, addressing a gathering in his home base Polonnaruwa.

He also accused "foreign forces" of intimidating him.

(PTI)

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