PTI Colombo, Sri Lanka
Nov 03, 2018, 09.32 AM
In a boost for newly-appointed Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, a lawmaker from the main Tamil party defected to the premier's side and was made a minister on Friday even as President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to summon Parliament on November 7 for a floor test to end the political turmoil.
Rajapaksa claims he now has enough numbers to prove his majority and at least five of ousted premier Ranil Wickremasinghe's men have defected to his side.
The current suspension of Parliament is seen as key to Rajapaksa negotiating for enough defections.
Rajapaksa was further bolstered by the defection of TNA MP S Vilenthiriyan from the eastern district of Batticaloa, who was made the deputy minister of eastern development.
Wickremasinghe's United National Party said they have handed over a motion of no confidence against new Prime Minister Rajapaksa.
Senior UNP member Lakshman Kiriella said Secretary General of Parliament was informed of the motion.
The Rajapaksa-Sirisena combine has 96 MPs in the 225-member assembly, which is 17 short of the 113 required working majority.
Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that Sirisena has agreed to summon the legislature on November 7, in a fresh twist to the ongoing political crisis after former strongman Rajapaksa replaced Wickremesinghe as prime minister.
There was confusion since Thursday on the date when the parliamentary deadlock would end as Sirisena had suspended the sittings until November 16.
Rajapaksa claims he now has enough numbers to prove his majority and at least five of ousted premier Ranil Wickremasinghe's men have defected to his side