Sri Lanka’s parliament to hold confidence vote on incoming prime minister

Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Prime Minister's official residence in Colombo Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Prime Minister's official residence in Colombo Sri Lanka

Al-Jazeera reported, while quoting sources, that the decision drew strong criticism from the supporters of the country's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe 's United National Party (UNP), who even termed the order to be "too late". Thousands of his supporters have been keeping vigil.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday claimed he has the support of 113 parliamentarians to prove the premiership of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

As patriotic songs blared over loudspeakers, thousands shuffled through heavy rain towards a makeshift stage. Police and Sri Lankan special forces with semi-automatic rifles stood guard.

President Sirisena was addressing the "Rata Rakina Jana Mahimaya" vibrant people's protest rally at the Parliament Junction last evening. State television reported there were at least 2,00,000.

In a statement after he was sworn in, Rajapaksa said he wanted to end religious and ethnic divisions.

Mr Sirisena and Mr Rajapaksa arrived at the rally amid loud cheers.

"For the past three and a half years, poor people were suppressed by Ranil Wickremesinghe's economic and political vision". Ltd. a year ago to operate a failing port developed with Chinese debt during Rajapaksa's decadelong presidency. One out of 16 Tamil MPs also joined Rajapaksa.

He also suspended Parliament in an apparent attempt to give Mr Rajapaksa time to muster support to survive any no-confidence vote.

"I have to agree with the majority of parliament who believe that the president's actions are undemocratic, unconstitutional and against all norms of parliamentary procedure", Jayasuriya, who holds a neutral position in parliament, said Monday.

But his faction has pressed ahead with forming a new government, naming an ally to a senior leadership post in parliament despite the speaker refusing to recognise the appointment.

The gazette in this regard was issued on Sunday amid mounting pressure to let legislators hold a vote.The Parliament has been convened as per the powers vested with the President according to paragraph 3/1 of article 70 of the constitution of the democratic socialist republic of Sri Lanka, government's official news portal said.

The statement was fuel at Rajapaksa's five-hour rally.

The political developments had no negative impact on tourism, new Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama said at the press conference.

Wickremesinghe told The Sunday Morning in an exclusive brief interview that he remained confident that he would have the numbers to show in Parliament and remain as Prime Minister. Palitha Range Bandara, a United National Party lawmaker, has said that he was offered millions of dollars and a minister portfolio if he crossed over.

GL Peiris, a leading Rajapaksa backer, however said the no confidence motion can not be taken up in a hurry.

Speaking in the Tamil language, Rajapaksa promised to fulfill the Tamil people's needs.

The UNP has handed over a motion of no trust against Rajapaksa.

Among the crowd Monday was Basil Ros, 58, a fisherman from the village of Negombo.

"You can't trust politicians", he said.

Details of the alleged plot have not been disclosed and Wickremesinghe has repeatedly denied the accusation.

While Wickremesinghe is staying on in the premier's residence called Temple Trees, Rajapaksa has taken over the offices of the prime minister following his swearing in.

Opponents of Sirisena call the change an illegal attempt to bring Rajapaksa back to power.

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