President Maithripala Sirisena has conveyed to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister was in keeping with the Constitution, the supreme law of the country, Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told the Sunday Observer.
Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) risks losing legislators to Rajapakse's camp as the days drag by. Rajapaksa is credited as a hero by Sri Lanka's ethnic Sinhalese majority for ending the conflict with a faction from the ethnic Tamil minority population.
In the statement, the party accused Rajapaksa's government of offering money and ministerial posts to "induce" opposition lawmakers to cross over. UN Chief "offered assistance in facilitating a dialogue with all the parties to resolve the situation", his office added. During this meeting, the President apprised the United Nations representative regarding the prevailing political situation in Sri Lanka.
Sirisena has suspended Parliament in the meantime, but if enough MPs endorse Rajapaksa when it reconvenes, the president may pull off what his opponents are calling a constitutional coup. Moreover, Wickremesinghe's popularity began to wane after his government signed an agreement giving a Chinese company an 80% stake and a 99-year lease of a failing port, seeing it as a way to avoid defaulting on Chinese loans.
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Wickremesinghe said in an interview with the AP that there is credible evidence that Rajapaksa's party is attempting to buy support in Parliament. Rajapaksa's return could increase China's clout in Sri Lanka. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa had said that no decision has been taken on reconvening the parliament on November 05 and that they are planning to stage a public rally on that day. Thousands of Sri Lankans also protested in the capital in the past week demanding Sirisena immediately convene Parliament.
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that his party was preparing its next course of action in the event of Parliament not being reconvened this week.
Parliament speaker Karu Jayasuriya has called a meeting for next Wednesday. Wickremesinghe too had demanded the convening of Parliament, saying he still enjoys majority.