Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Sri Lanka’s ousted PM accuses rival Rajapaksa of bribery

A man walks past a poster of Sri Lanka's newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Maithripala Sirisen Image President Sirisen kicked out the incumbent PM and replaced him with Mr Rajapakse
Faye Gross | 05 November, 2018, 10:26

Sirisena abruptly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Oct.26 and appointed former president Rajapaksa to lead the ruling coalition instead, raising fears at home and overseas that this could derail Sri Lanka's halting national reconciliation process.

Ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Friday there is credible evidence his replacement is trying to buy support in parliament before an expected vote of confidence when it reconvenes.

Mr Wickremesinghe, who has challenged his dismissal and vowed to remain prime minister until Parliament voted him out, said there were global concerns about a government led by Mr Rajapaksa.

"The government got GSP on the basis of certain commitments, if these commitments are not met, then we would consider withdrawal,"EU ambassador to Sri Lanka, Tung-Lai Margue, was quoted as saying to Reuters, a news agency".

According to latest counts, Wickremesinghe now has 102 MPs from the 225-seat assembly after another defection while Rajapakse and Sirisena also have 102.

The Sri Lankan political crisis is therefore much more geopolitically pertinent than many might think. The speaker of parliament in the Indian Ocean island, Karu Jayasuriya, said Sirisena had agreed to call parliament on November 7, following calls for an early session to end the crisis.

"The Chinese were giving the loans and had been given the first option".

Sri Lanka's garment industry is its second-biggest hard currency earner, after remittances, worth about $5 billion a year, with goods supplied to top brands including Victoria's Secret, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Marks & Spencer.

China Says More Talks Needed For Pakistan's Economic Bailout
China and Pakistan refer to themselves as "all-weather friends", united in their shared rivalry with mutual neighbor India. Ali Zaidi and Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan were present during the meeting, Foreign Secretary Ms.


Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's legislator son Namal Sunday indicated that the long-held demand of the Tamil minority community to release all Tamil prisoners may be fulfilled soon, a move aimed at persuading the Tamil legislators to support Rajapaksa.

Investigations into alleged crimes and corruption by Rajapaksa's family members, his former Cabinet members and political officials could be dropped by the new Rajapaksa-led government.

An island nation with an economy that's mainly reliant on tourism and tea exports, Sri Lanka's blessed geography puts it at a crucial juncture of the busy shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean.

The billions China loaned Sri Lanka to develop the port and airport - a sign of Rajapaksa's pro-China leanings has India anxious.

Asked what his next step would be if Parliament is not convened before 16 November, Wickremesinghe said that they had a plan in mind and would implement it.

Sirisena is under mounting pressure by his political opponents, rights groups and foreign governments including the United States and European Union to summon Parliament and end the crisis.

The announcement was made by Parliament spokesman Karu Jayasuriya when he addressed a special meeting of party leaders. He tweeted: "the people's voices have been heard".

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