Sri Lanka parliament ousts twenty day PM, leaving uncertainty

Sri Lanka president's choice prime minister alongside his government was sacked on their first day in parliament, leaving the country without a clear administration.

On Wednesday (14), a majority of lawmakers voted against Mahinda Rajapaksa ending his premiership of almost 20 days.

Rajapaksa appointed on October 26th, becomes the Sri Lankan prime minister to be in office for the shortest time in history.

Speaker of the parliament Karu Jayasuriya announced that a no confidence motion against Rajapaksa and his government has been adopted in the 225 member assembly.

Public appeal

In a message to journalists the speaker said that a letter signed by 122 members in parliament endorsing the no confidence have been sent to the president.

However, it is not clear whether Ranil Wickremesinghe, the PM prior to Rajapaksa will be automatically reinstated.

Though Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) is the biggest in parliament, Sirisena retains the power to choose the next prime minister.

“We will now take steps to ensure that the government in place before the 26th Oct will continue,” tweeted Wickremesinghe.

He made a public appeal to security forces and the police requesting them not to take orders from what he called the illegal government.

'Show majority'

Pro Rajapaksa legislators refusing to accept the verdict of the assembly are challenging Wickremesinghe to prove that he commands the confidence of the majority.

“If Ranil Wickremesinghe thinks he has the majority, let him sign 113 (members of parliament) and hand over the letter to the president,” said Namal Rajapaksa, son of ousted PM.

“Then President Sirisena can make his call.”

However, the UNP says that the responsibility of naming the PM is in the hands of the president himself.

“Now, President Sirisena has to nominate a prime minister who he believes to command the confidence of the House,” said UNP Parliamentarian Mujiber Rahuman.

“The parliament has already shown that Mahinda Rajapaksa has no confidence. We will show what we think about the president’s new appointment when he makes the next nomination.’

A large number of foreign envoys and journalists were present at the gallery to witness the proceedings.

Parliament is due to meet on Thursday.☐



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.