The Battle of The Sri Lankan Prime Ministers
The political climate in Sri Lanka has been particularly tense since President Maithripala Sirisena sacked the sitting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26th and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa – a two-time controversial former President. Sirisena said he fired Wickremesinghe after an informant informed the police that a Cabinet minister was included in a plot to assassinate him. He did not, however, reveal the minister’s name.
Right after firing Wickremesinghe, Sirisena suspended the Parliament until November 16th. In order to resolve the political crisis after receiving pressure from various countries, Sirisena moved the date of the recall to November 5. Analysts and critics of Sirisena believe that the Parliament was suspended to give Rajapaksa time to assemble enough support to survive a no-confidence vote.
Wickremesinghe is refusing to quit and vacate his official residence as he believes that the President only has the authority to appoint the Prime Minister, not sack him. Legal experts have also agreed with this.
Kayu Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka’s speaker of parliament has put down his foot and declared that he will not accept the new Prime Minister until he proves a majority in the parliament. Jayasuriya believes that the changes done in the parliament are unconstitutional and requested the majority of the parliament to accept the positions which were assigned prior to any of these changes.
However, on Monday, thousands of people in support of the new government marched in a rally in Sri Lanka. Sirisena and Rajapaksa were also present. Sirisena spoke to his people and revealed that his decision more than just a personal one as he also noticed that the underprivileged people under Wickremesinghe’s rule were suppressed. Previously, Rajapaksa’s supporters have accused the fired Prime Minister of selling Sri Lanka’s assets, thus agreeing with the decision to sack him.
Wickremesinghe unveiled in an interview with The Associated Press last week that credible evidence has been found to show that Rajapaksa’s party is attempting to buy support in the Parliament. Palitha Range Bandara, a United National Party lawmaker, has said that he was offered millions of dollars and a minister portfolio if he crossed over. However, the law makers from the opposition’s party denied all such allegations.