Monday, 18 October 2021

Sri Lanka talks fail to end crippling power struggle


COLOMBO: Crucial talks to resolve a power struggle in Sri Lanka failed to break the political deadlock, officials said Sunday, as the three key players met for the first time since crisis erupted last month.

The Indian Ocean nation has been paralysed since October 26 when President Maithripala Sirisena controversially sacked the prime minister and replaced him with a former rival, Mahinda Rajapakse.

Deposed premier Ranil Wickremesinghe insists he is still prime minister, and parliament voted twice last week to reject Rajapakse as leader.

In a bid to resolve the crisis, Wickremesinghe and Rajapakse both went to meet the president at his office in the capital Sunday for what were widely regarded as crucial negotiations.

All three men were at the Presidential Secretariat building for nearly two hours with their aides and party seniors — but failed to end the political deadlock.

Wickremesinghe has demanded his government be restored, challenging Rajapakse to demonstrate a majority in the 225-member assembly.

But brawling erupted in parliament Friday with Rajapakse loyalists smashing furniture, throwing chilli powder and launching projectiles at rivals in a bid to disrupt a no-confidence motion against him.

Rajapakse s party has admitted that they lacked a simple majority in the legislature. Their rivals accuse them of delaying a vote because they do not yet have the required number of MPs.

“He (Rajapakse) must submit himself to a floor test,” said Lakshman Kiriella, an MP from Wickremesinghe s United National Party.

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