Sri Lanka to lift parliament suspension in 10 days

In a statement, the Tamil National Alliance said Rajapaksa's appointment was a violation of the Constitution's 19th amendment.

TNA legislator Dharmalingam Sithadthan said the president had called the Tamil legislators to a meeting Wednesday - the same day parliament was expected to reconvene.

Guterres spoke by phone with President Maithripala Sirisena, who set off the crisis when he sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26 and replaced him with former authoritarian president Mahinda Rajapakse.

A statement issued by the UN Secretary General's office on Friday, stated the UN Chief offered assistance to "facilitate a dialogue with all parties and allow the parliamentary process to resume as soon as possible".

Amid the ongoing political tension, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer has met Sirisena and Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, delivering Guterres' message for the need to respect democratic values and constitutional provisions.

However, seven members from Wickremesinghe's United National Front have defected to Rajapaksa's government.

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The political turmoil began after Sirisena sacked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

Sirisena dismissed Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet last week and later announced that he acted in part because Wickremesinghe and a Cabinet colleague were behind an alleged assassination plot against him.

Tensions have been building between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe for some time, as the president did not approve of economic reforms introduced by the prime minister. "You have a responsibility to prevent Sri Lanka from being plunged further into a moral and ethical political abyss", the Movement for Democracy said. There was confusion since Thursday on the date when the parliamentary deadlock would end as Sirisena had suspended the sittings until November 16.

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

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.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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