US, Japan Freeze Aid To Lanka Over Constitutional Crisis, Says Former PM

Leroy Wright
November 5, 2018

The former Prime Minister, Mr D. M.Jayaratne left the office accepting the constitutional stand of the President.

The European Union is anxious the return of Mahinda Rajapaksa, as prime minister, could derail halting progress made towards national reconciliation following a war with ethnic minority Tamil separatists that killed tens of thousands, many during the final stages under his watch as president.

Of those, eight have defected to support Rajapaksa.

At least 4 more of the TNA's 16 MPs are believed to be to joining Rajapaksa.

Namal's comments are aimed at persuading the legislators in Sri Lanka's main Tamil party - Tamil National Alliance (TNA) - to switch their allegiance to Rajapaksa in his bid to prove majority in the parliament.

President Sirisena last Saturday prorogued parliament till November 16. Sirisena has been sending conflicting signals about his willingness to end the parliamentary suspension.

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The UN chief told Sirisena that he was following developments in Sri Lanka "with concern", and "urged the president to revert to parliamentary procedures and allow the parliament to vote as soon as possible", a UN statement said.

But Sirisena's suspension order leaves him with no option but to seek the consent of the president to recall the assembly.

Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka to a military defeat of Tamil separatist guerrillas in 2009 but has since faced widespread allegations of human rights abuse and targeting of Tamil civilians.

Palitha Range Bandara, a legislator of Wickremesinghe's party, has said he was offered United States dollars 2.8 million to extend support to Rajapaksa's bid to prove his majority. "Malicious rumours are being spread to discredit the Government and I think this will put a stop to all that", the Government spokesman said adding that, "Despite cries of foul play, the powers vested in the President in proroguing Parliament and appointing a PM is very clear". One out of 16 Tamil MPs also joined Rajapaksa. Most of the 22 remaining MPs, including the TNA, are likely to oppose Rajapaksa. Necessary action will be taken against him immediately.

Meanwhile, thousands of supporters continue to occupy Wickremesinghe's official residence saying they would resist any move by Sirisena to evict their prime minister.

It was not clear if and when the 225-member parliament would vote on the UNP's motion that Wickremesinghe's dismissal was illegal.

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