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Sri Lankan parliament passes no-confidence motion against new govt

15 Nov 2018, 01:34 ( 8 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Members of the Sri Lankan parliament raise their hands at a session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Nov. 14, 2018. Photo Xinhua.

Sri Lanka's Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said on Wednesday that a no-confidence motion presented against the government had been passed in the parliament with a majority vote.

   In a statement released by the Speaker's Office, he said a majority of the members of parliament had voted in favor of the no-confidence motion.

   According to the motion, new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and his cabinet appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena were unconstitutional.

   The speaker said that he would send President Sirisena a copy of the motion and the decision of the 225-member unicameral chamber, along with a copy of the letter signed by 122 members of parliament.

   Both of sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and new Prime Minister Rajapakse claimed they would continue to be in office following the no-confidence vote which ended in chaos in the parliament on Wednesday.

   Hours after the parliament was adjourned, Wickremesinghe said the motion had been passed with a majority through a "voice vote."

   "Now that the motion has been passed, the government which ruled before Oct. 26 will come back into effect. I am informing the police and state officials not to carry out any orders handed over by the illegal government," he said.

   However, Dinesh Gunawardena, legislator from Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna headed by Rajapakse, said the vote of no-confidence had been invalid as the parliament speaker had not followed the normal parliamentary traditions by calling for an electronic vote.

   He said the new government led by President Sirisena and Prime Minister Rajapakse would continue in office and all ministries would continue to function under the new regime.

   The no-confidence motion was presented by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) legislator Anura Kumara Dissanayaka and seconded by JVP legislator Vijitha Herath.

   However, when the motion was taken up for a vote, legislators from Rajapakse's party broke out in protest, prompting the prime minister to leave the floor of Parliament and the parliament session was adjourned till Thursday.   

   Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a political unrest since Oct. 26, when President Sirisena surprisingly sacked Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and appointed former president Rajapakse to the post and appointed a new caretaker government.

   Wickremesinghe's United National Party called the sacking illegal and called for the parliament to convene to prove their majority.

   President Sirisena dissolved the parliament last Friday and called for a snap parliamentary election in January next year, but the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court in a ruling on Tuesday.