In latest twist to Sri Lanka’s political crisis, the parliament today passed a no-confidence motion against newly appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksha and his government.
The move comes a day after Supreme court overturned a presidential decree dissolving the legislature and call for snap elections.
“I rule that this House does not have confidence in the government (of Rajapaksa)” the Speaker said after majority of the 225-member parliament voted against Rajapaksha.
Chaotic scenes unfolded during the crucial hour when Rajapaksha and his legislator son Namal, walked out of the chamber just before the Speaker called for a vote. And members Rajapaksha’s supporters attempted to grab the mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature to disrupt vote, which went ahead anyway.
Today’s showdown does not hand out an automatic reinstatement of the unceremoniously ousted Wickremesinghe as prime minister.
President Maithripala Sirisena still retains the power to choose the next prime minister.
The president who had problems getting along with Weickremesinghe attempted to install Rajapaksa, who ruled the country for a decade until 2015, as the new prime minister. In his time in office, he drew the country closer to China and fell out with the west over a litany of alleged human rights abuses.
Rajapaksa his supporters took charge of the govt institutions but failed to garner enough MPs to join their government.
This failure is believed to have triggered a desperate Sirisena to dissolve the parliament and announce fresh elections, hoping a ballot victory that would catapult Rajapaksa back in charge and and end the constitutional crisis.