The Sri Lankan Parliament on Wednesday passed a motion of confidence in favour of United National Party leader and ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Daily Mirror reported. The vote of confidence follows weeks of political turmoil after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahindra Rajapaksa, a former president, on October 26.
The report said 117 of the 225 MPs in the House voted in favour of reinstating Wickremesinghe. The motion was presented by the ousted leader’s party colleague and MP Sajith Premadasa and it was seconded by MP Mangala Samaraweera. “This resolution expressing confidence in me is a vote to defeat the coup of October 26,” The Hindu quoted Wickremesinghe as telling Parliament.
Sirisena had suspended Parliament soon after sacking Wickremesinghe to prevent a vote, then lifted the suspension, but dissolved it again and called snap elections. Rajapaksa’s government subsequently lost two trust motions in Parliament. The Supreme Court is hearing petitions against Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament.
On Wednesday, Premadasa asked Sirisena to reinstate Wickremesinghe and restore the status quo that existed prior to his October 26 decision, PTI reported.
The main Tamil minority party Tamil National Alliance supported the motion, but the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, which has spoken against Sirisena’s decision, abstained from voting. If the JVP’s six MPs had voted in favour of Wikremesinghe, his party would have had held the majority in the House.
Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance boycotted Parliament. Lawmakers supporting Sirisena and Rajapaksa have been boycotting Parliament since November 17.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya adjourned the House till December 18.
On December 4, Sirisena had claimed that the political unrest in the country will come to an end within a week. The president had told a convention of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party that his decision to sack Wickremesinghe was the correct one. “Ranil Wickremesinghe destroyed the country and the United National Party,” Sirisena had alleged. “To some extent he also destroyed me. I will never make Wickremesinghe the prime minister again even if all 225 MPs in parliament sign and request me to do so.”
The same day, Rajapaksa had filed a petition in the country’s Supreme Court against a lower court’s interim order that restrained him and his Cabinet from acting in their official capacities till a writ petition filed against them holding office is heard.