Weeks after being sacked by President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial move that plunged the island nation into a political turmoil, Sri Lanka's ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe emphatically proved his majority in Parliament on Wednesday. A confidence motion in Wickremesinghe’s leadership was passed by as many as 117 out of 225 lawmakers in the Parliament.
The motion's approval could be seen as a blow to President Sirisena who has steadfastly refused to reappoint 69-year-old Wickremesinghe due to his personal dislike of the ousted prime minister.
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President Maithripala Sirisena had removed Wickremesinghe and installed ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place in a controversial move on October 26.
Rajapaksa has so far failed to prove his majority in Parliament.
The main Tamil minority party TNA had voted in favour of the confidence motion. However, the Marxist JVP, which has protested Sirisena's extra constitutional action, abstained from voting.
Wickremesinghe would have commanded an unassailable majority in the House despite the president's refusal to reinstate him if the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)'s six lawmakers had voted in his favour.
Sirisena's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) continued its boycott of Parliament when Sajith Premadasa, Wickremesinghe's deputy, moved the motion in the morning.
Premadasa urged Sirisena to end the October 26 unconstitutional action and reinstate Wickremesinghe to take the country back to the pre-October 26 position.
The Parliament session was later adjourned until December 18 by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
According to the media reports, UPFA MP Keheliya Rambukwella had said that they do not accept the motion of confidence presented and passed in support of Wickremesinghe in Parliament.
Legislators supporting Sirsena and Rajapaksa have been boycotting Parliament since November 17.
The Parliament was dissolved by Sirisena after sacking Wickremesinghe on October 26 and called for a snap election on January 5.
The Supreme Court, however overturned his decision.
Sirisena said that he has always taken decisions in the best interest of the country and the people.
United National Party (UNP) leader Wickremesinghe last week urged the President not to "be like Hitler and some of the other dictators who used the referendum".
Prior to the crisis, Wickramasinghe's UNP had the backing of 106 parliamentarians while Rajapaksa and Sirisena combine had 95 seats.
Owing to sharp differences with Wickremesinghe, the president has said he would not reappoint him as the Prime Minister.
However, Wickremesinghe's UNP claims that Sirisena will be left with no choice as he would be the man who will command the confidence in the House.