Rajapakse rally gathers as Sri Lanka showdown toughens

Sri Lanka's deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said his abrupt dismissal raised doubts about the future of democracy in the island

Wickremesinghe, who has challenged his dismissal and vowed to remain prime minister until parliament voted him out, said there were global concerns about a government led by Rajapaksa.

Critics of Sirisena's actions say Parliament was suspended to give Rajapaksa time to gather enough support to survive a no-confidence vote when lawmakers reconvene November 14.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) could tip the balance should parliament be recalled this week to decide between two rivals both claiming the lawful right to head Sri Lanka's government.

During Monday's rally Rajapakse urged smaller parties, which have emerged as kingmakers, to support him over Wickremesinghe.

However, Sri Lanka's Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Friday informed lawmakers that President Maithripala Sirisena was likely to convene Parliament on November 7.

Tens of thousands of people irrespective of their political affiliations yesterday thronged the Parliament Roundabout to express their solidarity with the new government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sirisena's decree for the house to reconvene on November 14 was published in the official gazette on Sunday.

The Speaker said he was further of the opinion that following the request submitted to him by 116 parliamentarians stating that the decision made by the President in sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was unconstitutional and undemocratic, their call for Parliament to be summoned immediately was also extremely reasonable.

Sri Lanka's speaker of parliament said on Monday he would not accept a former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the new prime minister until he proves he commands a majority in parliament.


The move on Oct 26 triggered an unprecedented constitutional crisis, plunging the island into political turmoil.

Sirisena and Rajapaksa arrived at the rally amid loud cheers.

Rajapaksa, who was the president at the time, has repeatedly said that the war was against the LTTE and not against the Tamil community. It means that the speaker still recognizes a Wickremesinghe-led Parliament.

He said he fired the prime minister because Wickremesinghe was trying to implement "a new, extreme liberal political concept by giving more priority for foreign policies and neglecting the local people's sentiment".

The UNP has handed over a motion of no trust against Rajapaksa.

He resigned as the deputy minister of Labour and Foreign Employment to leave the Sirisena camp and join Wickremesinghe.

During these 10 years, Rajapaksa and his government were accused of authoritarianism, corruption and human rights abuses, especially against the country's Tamil minority.

He said he hadn't received any money yet.

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