Until Rajapaksa Proves Majority, Won't Accept Him PM: Sri Lanka Speaker

A man walks past a poster of Sri Lanka's newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Maithripala Sirisen

Rajapaksa, a former strongman, was sworn in as prime minister a week ago after the president dismissed Wickremesinghe and suspended parliament, creating a constitutional crisis.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who was previously regarded as close to India, suddenly replaced his Prime Minister with a former pro-Chinese leader in a controversial shake-up that could upset the balance of power between India and China in the Indian Ocean Region.

The speaker of parliament in the Indian Ocean island, Karu Jayasuriya, said Sirisena had agreed to call parliament on November 7, following calls for an early session to end the crisis.

Guterres offered United Nations help to broker a dialogue between all the parties.

So far Rajapaksa has 100 MPs on his side while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has 103 MPs in the 225-member assembly.

"The Secretary-General urged the President to revert to parliamentary procedures and allow Parliament to vote as soon as possible".

The European Union is anxious the return of Rajapaksa as prime minister, could derail progress made toward national reconciliation following a war with ethnic minority Tamil separatists, the report said. Rajapaksa camp had already enticed a TNA legislator to join ranks by giving him a deputy ministerial position.

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Sri Lanka main Tamil party to support no-confidence motion against new PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Sat, Nov 3, 2018, 07:18 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka to a military defeat of Tamil separatist guerrillas in 2009 but has since faced widespread allegations of human rights abuse and targeting of Tamil civilians.

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

Rajapaksa, whose government was accused of atrocities and corruption in the final years of the civil war, maintains popularity among Sri Lanka's Sinhalese ethnic majority group, who credit him with ending the conflict with the Tamil rebels.

On Friday, the speaker of parliament said Sirisena had agreed to summon a session on Wednesday next week.

"It's better to do trade than have friends, friends who give loans", said a Western diplomat referring to China's lending. He argued that he can not be legally removed from office until he loses the support from Parliament, and asked for a vote as evidence to prove he had majority support.

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