Sri Lankan parliamentarian Susil Premajayantha on Thursday said the Parliament would convene only on November 16, contradicting Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement about a session being called on November 5, Daily Mirror reported. Premajayantha said there would be no change in dates announced by President Maithripala Sirisena in the gazette.
The legislator told reporters that at least three working days are needed before the president can reconvene Parliament after it has been suspended. “Therefore, Parliament cannot be reconvened on November 5,” Premjayantha said. “Reports to that effect are incorrect.”
On October 26, Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa the prime minister after sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe from the post. A day later he suspended Parliament till November 16. Two days later, Rajapaksa assumed charge at the prime minister’s secretariat and called for snap parliamentary elections to overcome the “economic and political crisis”.
Earlier on Thursday, Wickremesinghe claimed he still has Parliament’s support and was confident of proving his majority, BBC reported.
Sirisena had met Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Wednesday to discuss the matter of reconvening Parliament. After the meeting, he indicated he may convene a session soon. Jayasuriya, who had earlier questioned the sacking of Wickremesinghe, said he would not object to Rajapaksa taking the prime minister’s seat in the next parliamentary session, local news website Ada Derena reported.
Rajapaksa and Sirisena’s parties together have only 95 seats, short of majority in the 225-member house. Wickremsinghe’s party, which has 106 seats, is seven short of the majority.
Earlier this week, thousands of protestors took to the streets against Wickremesinghe’s removal and urged the president to “protect democracy”.