Tamil prisoners may be released to tilt scales in favour of Rajapaksa

Tamil prisoners may be released to tilt scales in favour of Rajapaksa

Tamil prisoners may be released to tilt scales in favour of Rajapaksa

The rally near Parliament comes amid a constitutional crisis sparked by President Maithripala Sirisena's move to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, replace him with ex-leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, and suspend Parliament.

Sirisena abruptly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Oct.26 and appointed former president Rajapaksa to lead the ruling coalition instead, raising fears at home and overseas that this could derail Sri Lanka's halting national reconciliation process.

"The majority of the members are of the view that the changes done in the parliament are unconstitutional and against the traditions", Karu Jayasuriya, the speaker of parliament from Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP), said in a statement on Monday.

Palitha Range Bandara, a legislator of Wickremesinghe's party, has said he was offered United States dollars 2.8 million to extend support to Rajapaksa's bid to prove his majority.

The TNA has said it will support a no-trust motion against Rajapaksa, amid mounting pressure on President Sirisena to let the suspended Parliament hold a vote to end the ongoing political crisis.

On Friday, Sirisena had dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet, later telling reporters he acted in part because Wickremesinghe and a Cabinet colleague were behind an alleged assassination plot against him.

UN Secretary-General had urged President Sirisena to revert to Parliamentary procedures and allow the Parliament to vote as soon as possible.

President Maithripala Sirisena fired the sitting prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, on October 26 and appointed Rajapaksa in his place, drawing criticism from political parties and the worldwide community.

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Since the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in 2009, the Sri Lankan Government has denied that the imprisoned LTTE members are political prisoners.

"I was asked to make a step forward to become a cabinet minister", Bandara told reporters as he played a voice recording of a conversation he allegedly had with a Sirisena loyalist, who told him that he would be rewarded with a Cabinet position.

He said that the President met the Colombo based diplomats earlier, to apprise them of the unfolding political situation in the country.

Sirisena also suspended Parliament until November 16.

On Friday, the speaker of parliament said Sirisena had agreed to summon a session on Wednesday next week.

On Saturday, the Tamil National Alliance -an ethnic minority Tamil party- said that it will support a no-confidence motion to be brought against Rajapaksa, after one lawmaker from their party joined Rajapaksa's government.

"It's better to do trade than have friends, friends who give loans", said a Western diplomat referring to China's lending.

Wickremesinghe called his sacking illegal and demanded a floor test in parliament to show he retains his majority.

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