Sirisena fired Ranil Wickremesinghe and swore in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as his replacement late on Friday in a move cheered by Rajapaksa supporters but described as a coup by opponents. The president’s order to suspend parliament until Nov. 16 was widely seen as an attempt to stop Wickremesinghe from trying to prove he maintains a parliamentary majority even after Sirisena pulled his party out of the ruling coalition. Wickremesinghe says he is still prime minister, and shortly before the suspension was announced he had urged the speaker to convene a session to show that he had a majority. “I have the majority in the parliament, convene the parliament to resolve this,” Wickremesinghe told a news conference in Colombo on Saturday, flanked by all his coalition partners except Sirisena’s party. Cheng Xueyuan, China’s envoy to Sri Lanka, sent Rajapaksa a customary congratulatory message but also paid a courtesy call on Wickremesinghe and said China would not interfere in the political crisis, sources close to the embassy told Reuters. Sirisena ordered the police chief to withdraw the security detail provided to Wickremesinghe as prime minister. The president also appointed an acting head for the government’s information department, which in a statement… Read full this story
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