Mahinda unable to buy more MP’s? – New twists in Sri Lanka’s political crisis fuel uncertainty
Colombo, Sri Lanka – For a brief moment on Thursday, it appeared as though Sri Lankan politicians might be able to return soon to the country’s suspended parliament to thrash out their differences over who should be prime minister – and thus end an acrimonious power struggle that has shaken the South Asian nation.
The idea took shape in the morning when newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told academics at his office that President Maithripala Sirisena had decided to lift the suspension and resume sessions on Monday.
The declaration was nearly as shocking as Sirisena’s decision on October 26 to fire Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replace him with Rajapaksa, a popular and controversial former leader that the president had defeated in a 2015 election.
Critics said Wickremesinghe’s ouster was the first illegal transfer of power since Sri Lanka established an electoral democracy in 1931. Citing constitutional amendments passed in 2015, they argued the president does not have the authority to sack a prime minister.
Still, many expected Sirisena to withstand mounting local and international pressure and stick to his apparent plan to give Rajapaksa time to muster support in the 225-member legislature.
That’s why Wickremesinghe, who maintains he commands majority in the House and has been calling for a parliamentary vote, was quick to celebrate when the news of Rajapaksa’s statement broke.