Tamil prisoners may be released to tilt scales in favour of Rajapaksa

Tamil prisoners may be released to tilt scales in favour of Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has ordered the suspended parliament to reconvene on November 14, clearing the way for a vote on his decision to sack the elected prime minister and replace him with wartime nationalist Mahinda Rajapaksa. The ousted prime minister said Friday it was an open-bidding process.

The Speaker said that a serious political-constitutional crisis had arisen in the country and called on the president to protect the rights and privileges of Wickremesinghe "until any other person emerges from within Parliament as having secured the confidence of Parliament". Viyalendran, defected on Friday and was appointed as Rajapakasa's deputy minister of regional development. We strongly oppose and condemn Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament S. Viyalendran being a part of this conspiracy.

The Tamil party's 15 votes could give Wickremesinghe's camp a decisive edge over Rajapaksa.

Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe just hours after his United People's Freedom Alliance quit the country's national coalition government.

Some 121 lawmakers were expected Saturday to support the no-confidence vote, according to a count by The Associated Press.

Sirisena's supporters have talked for weeks about an alleged assassination plot, but Sunday was the first time Sirisena commented publicly about it. "Malicious rumours are being spread to discredit the Government and I think this will put a stop to all that", the Government spokesman said adding that, "Despite cries of foul play, the powers vested in the President in proroguing Parliament and appointing a PM is very clear".

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In addition, Wickremesinghe refused to accept his dismissal, claiming to be the country's legitimate prime minister.

Wickremesinghe said in an interview with the AP that there is credible evidence that Rajapaksa's party is attempting to buy support in Parliament.

Palitha Range Bandara, a legislator of Wickremesinghe's party, has said he was offered Dollars 2.8 million to extend support to Rajapaksa's bid to prove his majority.

Mahindananda Aluthgamage, a lawmaker from Rajapaksa's party, denied the allegations.

His United National Party submitted a motion to that effect to parliament but Sirisena suspended its session until November 16, citing a need for Rajapaksa to make arrangements for the new government prevented the vote.

Rajapaksa, whose government was accused of atrocities and corruption in the final years of the civil war, maintains popularity among Sri Lanka's Sinhalese ethnic majority group, who credit him with ending the conflict with the Tamil rebels.