Sri Lanka’s Parliament barred ministers from using state funds

Vastavam web: 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. Sirisena later dissolved Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered snap election. The Supreme Court overturned Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls. 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 says his dismissal is invalid because he still holds a majority in the 225-member Parliament. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has officially conveyed that the House does not recognise Rajapaksa as the legal prime minister until he proved his majority in the House. The United National Front led by Wickeremesinghe has moved three motions of no trust against Rajapaksa. However, he refused to step down.

The November 16 session witnessed unprecedented violence as lawmakers threw furniture and chilli powder at each other. Jayasuriya had called the police into the House as lawmakers were seen breaking furniture to attack the police, while there were video images of some MPs carrying sharp objects and an MP was seen throwing chilli powder mixed with water at the policemen. The violence had left some lawmakers injured. The Speaker Thursday announced he has appointed a committee to probe the violence in the Parliament.