• search
For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

In inaugural statement as new Lankan PM, Rajapaksa calls for snap parliamentary polls


Colombo, Oct 28: Sri Lanka's newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday called for a snap parliamentary election to allow people to vote for a new programme to overcome the island nation's economic and political crisis.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

This was the first public statement by the former strongman since President Maithripala Sirisena appointed him as the new premier after sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday night.

Mahinda Rajapaksa sworn in as Sri Lankan Prime Minister amid political drama

"The primary objective of the political party leaders and parliamentarians who have joined me is to immediately hold the provincial council elections that had been postponed continuously and also to call a parliamentary election as soon as possible so as to give the people the opportunity to vote for a programme that will bring the country out of the encompassing economic, political and social crisis," he said.

Rajapaksa's return to power ended a more than three-year-old coalition government that was formed by Sirisena and Wickremesinghe on a promise to combat corruption and financial irregularities. Sirisena's broader political front United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) quit the unity government with Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP).

Sri Lanka crisis: One dead as minister Ranatunga's guard fires at mob

Highlighting the alleged misgovernance of Wickremesinghe, Rajapaksa said, "The value of the rupee has fallen alarmingly. Our country has been downgraded by the rating agencies. The people are oppressed by the ever rising cost of living." He said he was invited by Sirisena to accept the post of the prime minister after the president's party left the unity government with Wickremesinghe.

"Today our country is in a state of uncertainty. Details of a plot to assassinate the president and the former defence secretary have come to light. Those involved in this conspiracy are being exposed by their own actions," he said.

Sirisena had last week accused Wickremesinghe of going slow on the investigations after a man named Namal Kumara in mid-September disclosed the alleged plot to assassinate him and former defence minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Sri Lanka's next parliamentary elections are not due earlier than February, 2020. However, the next presidential election must be called prior to that.

Wickremesinghe, who has termed his sacking as unconstitutional, claims that he is till the legally appointed Prime Minister with parliamentary majority.

He had sought an emergency session of the parliament to prove his majority. However, Sirisena suspended the Parliament till November 16. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Sunday questioned the president's decision to suspend parliament till November 16, saying it will have "serious and undesirable" consequences on the country.


For Daily Alerts
Get Instant News Updates
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more