Friday, 16th April 2021

All-party meeting talks to end political crisis- President

Colombo, Nov 18 (PTI): Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday held an all-party meeting to end the raging political crisis set off by his controversial decision to remove prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last month.

The crisis erupted when President Sirisena suddenly announced on October 26 that he had sacked prime minister Wickremesinghe and installed ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

Sirisena later dissolved Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered snap election. The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned President Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls on January 5.

The crisis talks came after Sri Lanka’s parliament witnessed unprecedented violence as lawmakers threw furniture and chilli powder at each other.

This is the first time that Sirisena, Wickremsinghe and Rajapaksa met face to face since the crisis erupted on October 26.

The JVP or the People’s Liberation Front stayed away from Sunday’s meeting. The party in a letter to Sirisena said that he was the creator of the crisis so he should end it. The party said it had no reason to attend the meeting.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who on Wednesday announced there is no prime minister or government following a no-confidence motion against disputed prime minister Rajapaksa, also boycotted the meeting.

Sirisena and Jayasuriya are at loggerheads ever since Jayasuriya decided to summon parliament on November 14 despite Sirisena’s dissolution of the the assembly to hold fresh elections.

The chaos on Friday in Parliament forced the Speaker Jayasuriya to summon police inside the House. Jayasuriya, using a microphone, conducted the proceedings while standing on the floor of Parliament, which for the second time passed a no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa and his government by a voice vote.

Jayasuriya first offered to take the vote by name, but was unable to do so because of the commotion and opted for a voice vote. He then adjourned the house until Monday.

After the second vote against Rajapakse, Wickremesinghe demanded that his government be restored, but there has been no response from Sirisena yet.

Wickremesinghe’s party meanwhile asked Facebook to safeguard the identity of its supporters on the social media platform, fearing information sharing with what it calls the country’s “illegal” government can lead to a crackdown against the users.

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