Sri Lankan Parliament votes to cut finances to PM’s office

Colombo: A majority of Sri Lankan legislators on Thursday voted in favour of a special motion presented to Parliament to halt the finances provided to the Prime Minister’s office amid the current political instability.

A total of 123 legislators out of the 225-member Parliament voted in favour of the motion which was presented by Ravi Karunanayake, a parliamentarian from the United National Party (UNP), which is led by ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Legislators from the minority Tamil National Alliance and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna also voted in favour of the motion, Xinhua news agency reported.

The vote was taken as MPs loyal to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa boycotted Parliament for the third consecutive time against Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s ruling that he would not recognize Rajapaksa’s government.

Rajapaksa who was appointed the Prime Minister in the new Cabinet by President Maithripala Sirisena on October 26, told journalists from Parliament premises that he and his party opposed the Speaker’s behaviour and they would boycott sessions till such time they were recognized as the ruling party.

Sri Lanka Freedom Party legislator, S.B. Dissanayake, who is part of Rajapaksa’s new government, said they would not accept the vote on the special motion as only a minister could put forward such a motion after Cabinet approval was obtained.

“The motion presented by the UNP is a complete violation of the constitution. We will not accept it,” Dissanayake said.

Jayasuriya was expected to hold talks with Sirisena later on Thursday to brief him about the vote on the special motion and to seek a solution to the present political instability.