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Ousted Lankan PM says he still commands majority

Sri Lanka’s ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said that he still commands the majority in parliament as the Speaker feared that there could be “bloodshed” on the streets amid the current political crisis.

The political developments unfolded after President Maithripala Sirisena’s broader political front United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) withdrew from the unity government with Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).

Sirisena on Friday night sacked Wickremesinghe and appointed former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister. Sirisena also suspended parliament till November 16 after Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority.

Addressing the foreign journalists association, Wickremesinghe said, “The Speaker has the powers to summon parliament and he will decide.”

Wickremesinghe said that he commands the majority in the House and it could be proved when Parliament is reconvened.

“We have a majority in the House and now told the Speaker to summon parliament,” he said referring to letters sent to Jayasuriya by the main Tamil party Tamil National Alliance and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

“No one can interfere with Parliament,” Wickremesinghe said.

Sri Lankan parliament speaker Karu Jayasuriya warned that there could be bloodshed as some people were trying to resolve a power struggle between the president and his ousted premier on the streets.

Addressing reporters in Kandy, Jayasuriya said that the issue should be resolved inside the Parliament.

The crisis in Sri Lanka took a deadly turn on Sunday as one person was killed in violence at the headquarters of state oil company Ceylon Petroleum, where Arjuna Ranatunga, petroleum minister in the ousted cabinet, tried to re-enter his office.

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