Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday announced that Parliament would reconvene on November 14, amid pressure to hold a floor test to resolve the ongoing political crisis in the country, AFP reported.
On October 26, Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa the prime minister after sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe. The next day, Sirisena suspended Parliament till November 16. On November 2, the president lifted the suspension of Parliament and said it would be recalled soon to decide who between Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa had the majority support to be the prime minister.
It is not clear when the 225-seat Parliament will vote on the motion passed by Wickremsinghe’s United National Party, that his dismissal was illegal, Reuters reported.
The Presidential Secretariat issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification saying Parliament will be prorogued for 11 days – between October 27 and November 16, local news portal Ada Drena reported.
The United National Party criticised Sirisena’s decision to recall Parliament as “too late”. “What’s the point convening Parliament two days before November 16?” United National Party leader Gayantha Karunatilleke said, according to Al Jazeera. “We want the president to reconvene Parliament immediately.”
The European Union, United Nations and many Western countries have urged Sirisena to resume parliamentary proceedings to end the political stalemate that has caused an economic upheaval. Wickremsinghe claimed that his dismissal has led to the United States and Japan freezing more than a billion dollars of development aid, Reuters reported.
According to AFP, Wickremsinghe currently has the support of 102 MPs, while Rajapaksa and Sirisena also have 102 MPs. The remaining 21 legislators, including those of the Tamil National Alliance, are reportedly set to oppose Rajapaksa.
The Sirisena and Rajapaksa-led United People’s Freedom Alliance will hold a mass rally on Monday in Colombo. “Everyone is super confident and tomorrow you will see how confident the party is when a crowd at least five times larger than the UNP rally in Colombo,” UPFA legislator Dayasiri Jayasekara said, according to Al Jazeera.