What happened last night?
As you wake up to your coffee or tea on this Saturday morning the country is in the midst of a great political crisis. Sri Lanka now has two individuals who claim to be the rightful Prime Minister of the country. One on hand you have Ranil Wickremesinghe while on the other you have Mahinda Rajapaksa.
It all began last night with the announcement that the UPFA would be withdrawing from the Government, soon afterward it was announced that Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the country before President Maithripala Sirisena.
PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was not in Colombo as all these changes were taking place, as he was rushing back to Colombo from Galle he called for an emergency meeting with all the parliamentary members of the UNP at Temple Trees. Before arriving at this meeting the RW spoke with News1st and stated that he remains the Prime Minister as he still has a parliamentary majority. There were a number of other UNP members who also came out to state that the swearing in of Mahinda Rajapaksa was unconstitutional.
It is in this backdrop that President Maithripala Sirisena wrote a letter to RW stating that he had been removed from the position of Prime Minister in accordance with article 42(4) of the constitution. The Prime Minister then took steps to write a counter letter to the President stating that he remains the PM as he has a majority in Parliament.
While all this was happening broadcasting activities of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini corporation came to a standstill following a commotion at the premises. At the midst of this commotion, a number of JO parliamentarians could be seen clearly. Min. Mangala Samaraweera and MP Chathura Senaratne who attempted to enter the complex were chased away by the jeering mob.
WHAT TO EXPECT TODAY?
The Speaker of Parliament is to announce his stance on the current political situation later today. The Speaker has vowed to act in an impartial manner and in accordance with the law.
The SLMC, ACMC and other smaller parties are yet to announce their stance on whether they remain with Ranil Wickremesinghe.
There have been reports of UNPers defecting to support Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ananda Aluthgamage (UNP MP) has already sided with MR.
Groups of supporters from both the JO and the UNP are expected to converge in Colombo
The next 24 hours will be an interesting day in Sri Lankan politics. Parliamentary majority vs Executive power, which interpretation fo the constitution will prevail? (Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara)