In a remarkable twist to the ongoing political crisis in Sri Lanka, the island nation's Parliament's Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya, on Sunday recognised Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country's Prime Minister. In a letter to President Sirisena, Jayasuriya questioned the former's decision to suspend the House till November 16, saying it will have "serious and undesirable" consequences.
The President was asked to restore the axed-PM Wickremesinghe’s privileges as the leader of the government who has obtained a mandate to secure democracy and good governance.
Here is the full letter by the Sri Lankan Speaker to President Sirisena:
National Unity Government (NUG) was formed; Sirisena was elected President with Wickremesinghe's support
February: The Unity Government, coalition of two leaders Wickremesinghe and Sirisena was thrown in crisis after Rajapaksa's new party pulled off a victory in local elections
April: Wickremesinghe successfully defeated a no trust motion in parliament engineered by Sirisena with backing from Rajapaksa
October 26: Fallout between President Sirisena and axed PM Wickremesinghe over the past year due to differences on policy-front led to replacement of the PM position.
October 28: Speaker Jayasuriya reinstated Wickremesinghe’s rights to undertake his duties as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
The speaker said a prorogation of Parliament should be one in consultation with the speaker. "In this context continuing the prorogation of parliament until November 16 will have serious and undesirable consequences for our country and I kindly request you to reconsider same," he said
"I consider it is my duty to draw your attention to the convention that a prorogation should be one in consultation with the speaker," Jayasuriya said.
In a possible reference to the decision to withdraw the security to Wickremesinghe, Jayasuriya reminded Sirisena of "certain forcible takeovers of State Institutions" since former strongman Rajapaksa was named Wickremesinghe's successor by the President on October 26.
The earlier decision of President Sirisena to sack Wickremesinghe and appoint Rajapaksa in his place received a backlash from Wickremesinghe's UNP's supporters, who protested outside Temple Tree (the official residence of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka). The leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, which holds 7 seats in the 225-strong house has announced its support for Wickremesinghe, who had sought a floor test to prove his majority.