11/15/2018, 18.47
SRI LANKA
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Political crisis: MP brawl in parliament

by Melani Manel Perera

Some MPs were injured, one badly enough to require hospital treatment. The opposition is in the streets of the capital to protest. For many protesters, Rajapaksa is an opportunist. For them, he lost and should pull back, following a no confidence vote in parliament. The situation could degenerate into chaos.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Sri Lanka’s political crisis shows no signs of abating. This morning a fight broke out in Parliament during a speech by former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.

As tensions rose, MPs turned to kicking and punching each other as a result of the Supreme Court ruling quashing President Maithripala Sirisena’s attempt to dissolve parliament.

Some lawmakers were slightly injured, but one was admitted to hospital. Eventually, parliament was adjourned until 21 November, but party leaders plan to resume discussions tomorrow.

Yesterday, MPs voted a no confidence motion against Rajapaksa, who had been appointed by President Sirisena to replace Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whom he had sacked in late October.

However, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled against Sirisena’s recent move, which had elicited criticism from bishops, activists and others, including the speaker of parliament.

Today the opposition is in the streets Colombo, calling for fresh parliamentary and presidential elections. Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, who held office from 1994 to 2005, was among the protesters.

In her view, Sirisena and several members of his party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), betrayed the election promises that led to their victory in January 2015.

The country, she said, stands at a dangerous precipice of chaos, anarchy and the breakdown of the rule of Law. Everyone must unite to bring it back from the brink and start anew the journey towards enlightened governance.

Some protesters who spoke to AsiaNews complained about the political chaos, criticising Rajapaksa’s opportunism. "If you are defeated you must have the heart and brain to stop interfering in political activity".

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