Sri Lanka’s parliament passed a no-confidence motion against newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse on Wednesday, presenting a standoff with the opposition and throwing the country deeper into turmoil.
Deputies from Rajapakse’s party rejected the voice vote as illegal, saying it wasn’t scheduled and that the pro-China former strongman would remain in office. It wasn’t immediately clear what President Maithripala Sirisena, who triggered the crisis by firing prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and naming Rajapakse to the job last month, would do now.
Government officials said there was confusion about who was in charge. “We need cabinet approvals to go ahead with large value projects,” one told Reuters. “We don’t know if a cabinet exists or not.” Sirisena dissolved parliament last week and ordered elections as a way to break the deadlock but the Supreme Court ordered a suspension of that decree on Tuesday until it had heard petitions challenging the decree as unconstitutional.
Wickremesinghe, who had refused to vacate the prime minister’s residence, said he intended to discharge his official responsibilities now that he had proved his majority in parliament. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said the no-confi- dence vote against Rajapaksa was supported by 122 members of the 225-member house. “A majority voted in favour of the noconfidence motion and thus the no-confidence motion was passed,” Jayasuriya said in a statement. (RTRS)