Protect Ranil’s privileges as PM, Speaker urges Sirisena

Cites serious constitutional crisis, requests President to reconvene Parliament
The Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya, on Sunday urged President Maithripala Sirisena to protect the rights and privileges of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe until his majority in the House was challenged by another member. Further, citing possible “serious consequences” of the President’s decision to suspend Parliament till November 16, he pressed Mr. Sirisena to reconvene the House.
‘Foremost duty’
“I consider it my foremost duty to protect the rights and privileges of all Members of Parliament, especially in the context of the serious political-constitutional crisis which has arisen in the country,” Mr. Jayasuriya said in a letter to the President. Drawing attention to the “convention” that prorogation should be done in consultation with the Speaker, Mr. Jayasuriya said the move would have “serious and undesirable consequences for the country” and urged Mr. Sirisena to reconsider the decision. “I have received a request to protect the rights and privileges of Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe until any other person emerges from within Parliament as having secured the confidence of Parliament. I consider the said request to be a democratic and fair request. I request you to consider the said request, as the leader of the Government who has obtained a mandate to secure democracy and good governance,” Mr. Jayasuriya said, apparently acknowledging Mr. Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister. The appeal comes two days after Mr. Sirisena sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe, replacing him with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President subsequently prorogued Parliament for over two weeks, deferring the possibility of a floor test until November 16.
Mahinda for early polls
Mr. Rajapaksa said he had accepted Mr. Sirisena’s invitation to assume charge as Prime Minister as he was aware that “the people expected our leadership and protection,” at this moment of “national peril.” In the statement, signed as the ‘Prime Minister of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,’ Mr. Rajapaksa said the primary objective of leaders and lawmakers who had joined him and Mr. Sirisena was to ensure early conduct of provincial and parliamentary elections.
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