Colombo: Amid political turmoil in Sri Lanka, the now-ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for an emergency Parliament session to display his majority.
Talking to ANI from Colombo, Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister Rajitha Senaratne confirmed that almost 113 members will be paraded in the session called for Monday.
Calling the ouster of Wickremesinghe “unconstitutional”, Senaratne said: “They cannot remove a Prime Minister. There are certain provisions and a process to remove a Prime Minister. We have called for an emergency session of the Parliament on Monday where as many as 113 members of our party will be paraded to prove majority. We are confident about proving a majority.”
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on Friday night replacing him with his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa following the collapse of the governing coalition between Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party (UNP).
However, Wickremesinghe in a statement, insisted that he still holds the Prime Minister’s office while citing the Article 42 (4) of the Sri Lankan Constitution which states that “the President shall appoint as Prime Minister, the Member of Parliament, who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament,” reported The Island.
Wickremesinghe, also quoted Article 46 (2) which says that the Prime Minister shall continue to hold office throughout the period during which the Cabinet of Ministers continues to function under the provisions of the Constitution unless he
(a) resigns his office by a writing under his hand addressed to the President;
(b) ceases to be a Member of Parliament.
In the current Parliament the UNP led United National Front for Good Governance has 106 seats , UPFA 95 seats , TNA 16 seats , JVP 6 seats and the Muslim Congress and the EPDP has one seat each, reported Colombo Page.
Sri Lankan Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera also expressed outrage about the ouster and wrote on Twitter: “The appointment of @PresRajapaksa as the Prime Minister is unconstitutional & illegal. This is an anti democratic coup. #lka”
In April, the ousted Prime Minister, Wickremesinghe also survived a no-confidence motion in the country’s Parliament that was brought by the supporters of Rajapaksa.
Interestingly, Rajapaksha, who served as Lanka’s President for a period of ten years, from 2005 to 2015 is a fierce political opponent of the current President Sirisena. Sirisena had defeated Rajapaksha in the Presidential election of 2015.