Rajapaksa loses vote of confidence in Sri Lankan parliament

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa assumes charge as new PM (File) Mahinda Rajapaksa on the day he assumed duty as the prime minister of Sri Lanka | Reuters

All roads led to the parliament in Sri Lanka on Wednesday. Amid highly chaotic scenes, the speaker declared that controversially appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse did not have enough majority. The speaker then adjourned the parliament for Thursday 10am.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the island nation had overturned President Maithripala Sirisena's dissolution of parliament and also put on hold snap elections declared for January 5. The apex court was hearing the petitions filed by the supporters of sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The parliament was reconvened on Wednesday as scheduled. It seemed as if the entire world was watching the proceedings as representatives of foreign embassies in Sri Lanka were keenly watching the minute-to-minute development in the Sri Lankan parliament.

All its 225 members walked into the parliament and the session began at 10am sharp. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was in chair and the newly sworn-in Mahinda Rajapaksa was seen in the prime minister's chair. There was much chaos and commotion, as the speaker began the session.

The session commenced with a motion to suspend the standing orders and UNP, JVP, TNA, SLMC, ACMC, TPA and several SLFP MPs supported the motion. Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dissanayake began reading the gazette on reconvention. Then it was the turn of TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran as he proposed to suspend standing orders. Mahinda was seen walking out amid the chaos.

Though it was difficult to call for votes by name, speaker Jayasuriya soon declared that the government has no majority and that the parliamentary sessions was suspended till 10am tomorrow.

Sources said now that Rajapaksa had lost majority, the president will have to call Ranil Wickremesinghe and swear him in as the prime minister. However, sources also observed that Wickremesinghe might not be lucky this time. UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa had better chances of being sworn in as prime minister. President Sirisena retains the power to choose the next prime minister.