Friday, 16th April 2021

Ex-Sri Lankan President named opposition leader amid objections

Colombo, Dec 18 (IANS): Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned from the prime ministerial position on December 15, was appointed Leader of Opposition by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Tuesday amid a row.

The parliament convened on Tuesday for the first time since the reinstatement of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, putting an end to a political impasse, that erupted since his sudden dismissal on October 26.

Jayasuriya said since President Maithripala Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance is the largest opposition party, he recognised Rajapaksa as the Leader of Opposition even as the ruling United National party (UNP) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) objected to the decision.

TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said Rajapaksa could not be appointed as he had resigned from the United People’s Freedom Alliance and joined the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.

He urged the Speaker to appoint a committee to probe Rajapaksa’s appointment.

Sumanthiran was asked to hand over his complaints in writing to be considered on Friday.

The island nation was plunged into a political crisis since October, when President Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe as the prime minister and appointed Rajapaksa to the post.

Sirisena later appointed a new caretaker government, amid objections from Wickremesinghe and his UNP, who said the sudden move was illegal.

After a nearly two-month political turmoil, Rajapaksa last Saturday stepped down as the prime minister to pave way for Wickremesinghe’s reinstatement.


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