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

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

Sirisena abruptly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Oct.26 and appointed former president Rajapaksa to lead the ruling coalition instead, raising fears at home and overseas that this could derail Sri Lanka's halting national reconciliation process.

Mr Wickremesinghe said his party will step up a public campaign for Parliament to be called and he be allowed to prove his majority. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe's government of not taking seriously an alleged assassination plot against him.

As per section 42 (4) the Constitution of Sri Lanka, President can appoint a person who according to his belief can win the confidence of the House of Representatives as the Prime Minister.

Pradeep Kariyawasam, the head of Rajapaksa's party in Colombo, said that although Wickremesinghe continued to maintain that he was the country's legitimate leader, "the people are with us".

On Saturday, the Tamil National Alliance -an ethnic minority Tamil party- said that it will support a no-confidence motion to be brought against Rajapaksa, after one lawmaker from their party joined Rajapaksa's government.

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.

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

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Most of the 22 remaining MPs, including the TNA, are likely to oppose Rajapaksa, experts said.

"Rajapaksa is known only for two things, the brutal quelling of the Tamil insurgency and outright support to China in a manner that goes against the interest of the country and negates its historic relationship with India", remarked Colonel Jaibans Singh (retired), a strategic affairs expert and Indian Army veteran.

Rajapakse-led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna said a new caretaker cabinet will be sworn in on Monday.

"A proxy for Rajapaksa called me today and offered 500 million rupees to support the new prime minister and they also offered a cabinet portfolio", Bandara told Reuters.

Mr. Guterres spoke to Sirisena over the phone on November 1 and informed him that he was following the latest developments in the country with concern, his office said. He argues that he can not legally be removed until he loses the support of Parliament.

Rights groups as well as Western nations have urged Sirisena to summon parliament to end the crisis.