Sri Lanka rivals target defectors to end political crisis

Sri Lanka rivals target defectors to end political crisis

Sri Lanka's Parliament Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya, on Sunday informed President Maithripala Sirisena that his decision to suspend parliament till November 16 will have "serious and undesirable consequences" for the island country.

Sri Lanka's Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Friday informed lawmakers that President Maithripala Sirisena was likely to convene parliament next week.

Guterres "offered assistance in facilitating a dialogue with all the parties to resolve the situation", it said.

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

Sirisena had replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa and suspended Parliament until November 16 in an apparent attempt to give Rajapaksa time to muster enough support to survive any no-confidence vote. Sirisena replaced Prime Minister Wickremesinghe for Rajapaksa last Friday, and suspended the Parliament after Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority in the legislature.

While the president has the authority to appoint the prime minister, he does not have the power to sack the incumbent, legal experts have said, citing constitutional amendments passed three years ago.

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Since the war with the LTTE ended in 2009, the Sri Lankan government has denied that those imprisoned LTTE members are political prisoners.

A police informant, Namal Kumara, who first spoke of the alleged plot, told reporters that Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet colleague, former army commander Sarath Fonseka, were behind it. Kumara claims he has a taped conversation with a senior police officer who allegedly discussed assassinating Sirisena and the former defence secretary, Rajapaksa's brother.

Thousands of Sri Lankans marched Monday in support of a new government led by the country's former strongman, highlighting the political polarization in the Indian Ocean island nation.

Sri Lanka lost so-called GSP+ access to the European Union when Mahinda Rajapaksa was President amid allegations of widespread human rights abuses and media suppression.

"It's better to do trade than have friends, friends who give loans", said a Western diplomat referring to China's lending. The alliance had "decided to vote in favour of the no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa", the statement said.

Wickremesinghe and his party have maintained that the move was illegal as they still held a majority in the House.

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