Sri Lankan Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Wednesday said the country’s Parliament has passed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government, reported Daily Mirror.
The United National Party led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also claimed that the no-confidence motion was passed with a majority, reported The Sunday Times.
The party’s MP, Lakshman Kiriella, told journalists that the motion was passed by a show of hands. The members of President Maithripala Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance protested against the motion and disrupted the vote, he added. Lawmakers belonging to Sirisena’s party, however, said no vote was held.
Before the vote, Rajapaksa walked out of the parliamentary chamber following which MPs supporting him tried to disrupt the proceedings. Several ministers in the new government accused the speaker of violating parliamentary norms by holding a crucial vote against their wishes, The Hindu reported.
Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa, who is an MP, claimed that the Speaker asked MPs “to scream to decide who’s the prime minister”, according to The Guardian. “We can’t do that. If the speaker wants to select a prime minister, then he can show 113 votes to the president and ask for it.”
Wickremesinghe said 122 parliamentarians had signed the no-confidence motion. “The Speaker ruled that this purported government does not enjoy the confidence of the House and is illegal,” he tweeted. “We will now take steps to ensure that the government in place before the 26th Oct will continue.”
On Tuesday, the country’s Supreme Court stayed Sirisena’s order last week to dissolve Parliament and call snap elections in January. The court’s interim order is effective till December 7. The three-judge bench will hear the petitioners’ arguments on December 4, 5 and 6.
Wickremesinghe’s ouster last month has caused a political crisis in the island nation. Sirisena replaced Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa and suspended Parliament till November 16 to prevent a vote. Though Sirisena later lifted the suspension and said the Parliament would reconvene on November 14, he dissolved it again and called snap elections on January 5.