Fight at the top: President Sirisena suspends Parliament until May 8th

The ruling coalition began to falter after the defeat in local government elections last February. Some members of the president's party voted with the opposition a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. Clashes over the management of the economy and the Central Bank corruption case.


Colombo (AsiaNews) - Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena suspended parliament until May 8. The decision was released last night and is effective from midnight. The measure - provided for by art. 70 of the Constitution - reflects the internal tensions of the ruling coalition, which sees the president and prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe more and more divided on opposite positions (respectively, on the right and left in the picture).

The agreement between the two leaders began to waver after the defeat in the local council elections last February, when there was a revival of the party of the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The government unity had survived from January 2015, when the alliance between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of Sirisena and the United National Party (UNP) of Wickremesinghe had paved the way for the electoral defeat of Rajapaksa, a controversial political figure and accused of having committed abuses and threats during the civil war.

The government crisis has become increasingly exacerbated since last April 5, when 13 members of the Sirisena party voted in favor of a motion of no confidence against Wickremesinghe presented by the opposition parties. For his part, the prime minister enjoys the majority of the 225 seats in Parliament and has passed the vote of no confidence without too much difficulty, but with the support of the Tamil and Muslim parties.

Recently, the president has repeatedly criticized his ally for the management of the economy and for his involvement in a corruption scandal that hit the Sri Lankan Central Bank, which falls within the Wickremesinghe portfolio, with a government bonds fraud.

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