Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday, October 27 suspended the parliament till November 16 after sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority, deepening the political crisis in the island nation.
Sirisena's move is seen as an effort to allow former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa to buy more time to seek a majority in the parliament.
Rajapaksa and Sirisena combine has only 95 seats and is short of a simple majority in the 225-member house. Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) has 106 seats on its own with just seven short of the majority.
The UNP claimed that President Sirisena sought to prorogue the parliament as Rajapaksa did not command a majority in the House. Parliamentary officials said the president prorogued the house till November 16. The parliament was earlier due to meet on November 5 to unveil the 2019 annual budget.
The move to suspend the parliament came in the wake of an urgent request from Wickremesinghe to convene an emergency session of the house. Wickremesinghe has been asserting that the swearing in of Rajapaksa in his place is "illegal and unconstitutional".
Wickremesinghe, addressing the media along with his constituent party leaders, said, This is a created crisis, there is no need for this crisis. The people must not suffer because of this at a difficult time for them."
He said that the crisis could be resolved with no difficulty if the parliament was convened. I can prove majority on the floor of the House," Wickremesinghe said The UNP supporters protested outside Temple Trees against the decision taken by the president to sack Wickremesinghe.
Sirisena on Saturday formalised the sacking of his former ally by issuing two extraordinary gazette notices. First notice was on Wickremesinghe being removed as prime minister and the other on the appointment of Rajapaska as the new premier.
Sirisena also ordered the removal of Prime Minister's Secretary Saman Ekanayake. The prime minister's secretary has been removed according to the powers vested with the president as the appointing authority.
Responding to Sirisena in writing, Wickremesinghe said he is still the "constitutionally appointed Prime Minister" of Sri Lanka.
"I write to inform you that I am the constitutionally appointed Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and continue in that office and that I command the confidence of Parliament as contemplated in article 42(4) of the constitution, the letter said.
President Sirisena in the letter Wickremesinghe had formally informed that the latter has been sacked from the prime minister's position. Sirisena informed Wickremesinghe that he had been sacked from the position according to article 42(4) of the constitution.