Sri Lankan Parliament's speaker on Sunday, October 28 recognized Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country's Prime Minister, saying he has "obtained a mandate to secure democracy and good governance", in a major relief to the embattled UNP leader who was sacked by President Maithripala Sirisena in a dramatic move on Friday night.
In a letter to Sirisena, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya questioned the president's decision to suspend parliament till November 16, saying it will have "serious and undesirable" consequences on the country.
He asked the president to restore Wickremesinghe's privileges as the leader of the government who has "obtained a mandate to secure democracy and good governance.
Sirisena on being sacked on October 26, 2018, Wickremesinghe and appointed former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister. Next day, Sirisena suspended parliament till November 16 after Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority.
The president also withdrew Wickremesinghe's personal security and vehicles in order to accord them to his 72-year-old successor, who staged a dramatic political comeback on Friday, October
Jayasuriya 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. 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.
The speaker also questioned Sirisena's decision to withdraw the security of Wickremesinghe.
Jayasuriya reminded Sirisena of certain forcible takeovers of state institutions since Rajapaksa was named Wickremesinghe's successor by the president. Sirisena's decision to suspend the parliament until November 16 was seen as an effort to coerce legislators into supporting Rajapaksa.
One such crossover was reported this morning as Wadivel Suresh, an Indian Tamil origin UNP legislator from the central tea plantations, pledged support to Rajapaksa. He was the second UNP legislator to back Rajapaksa since Friday night.
Analysts said Rajapaksa now has 99 seats, 14 short of the 113 required. Wickremesinghe's UNP now stands at 105, just eight short of the majority. Two parties, the Marxist JVP with their six seats and the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) with their 16 are to stay neutral.
The TNA sources said Rajapaksa had spoken to the TNA leader R Sampanthan over the telephone and asked for their support.