14 Opposition TNA members back it
A majority of Sri Lankan parliamentarians — including 14 from the opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — on Wednesday voted for ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as their preferred candidate to serve in the post. The motion moved by Sajith Premadasa, deputy leader of Mr. Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), sought to demonstrate the support that the deposed leader has in the House.
It is unlikely that the trust vote — passed with the support of 117 MPs in the 225-member House — will help end the island’s political impasse, especially coming a week after President Maithripala Sirisena declared that he would not appoint Mr. Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, “even if all 225 legislators” back him. Mr. Sirisena’s refusal to work with Mr. Wickremesinghe is at the heart of the political crisis gripping Sri Lanka for seven weeks now. In a widely-contested decision on October 26, Mr. Sirisena installed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minster, abruptly replacing Mr. Wickremesinghe. Mr. Rajapaksa has since lost two confidence votes in Parliament, but has refused to accept them citing “breach of parliamentary procedure.” The bitter power struggle, which Mr. Sirisena maintains is “nothing personal”, has left the country without a legitimate government for weeks. A majority of MPs have challenged his actions as executive president, in the legislature and in courts.