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Sri Lanka Parliament bars ministers from using state funds

Sri Lanka’s Parliament on Friday barred ministers and their private staff from using state funds amid a political standoff in the country after President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial move sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe.

The move comes a day after Sri Lankan Parliament overwhelmingly passed a motion to suspend the expenditure of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Lanka is witnessing a political crisis since October 26 when President Sirisena sacked Wickeremesinghe and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.

No vote was cast against the motion as lawmakers of the controversially-appointed government boycotted the Parliament session.

Both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa claim to be the prime ministers.

Wickremesinghe said that his dismissal is invalid because he still holds a majority in the 225-member Parliament.

The United National Front led by Wickeremesinghe has moved three motions of no trust against Rajapaksa. However, he refused to step down.

The parliamentarians comprising members of the UNF, JVP and TNA filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the former president, challenging him to prove on what authority he is holding office as the Prime Minister after the Parliament voted twice to defeat him on November 14 and November 16.

The final verdict on Sirisena’s sacking of parliament is expected to be delivered next week.

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