Sri Lankan parliament passes no-confidence motion on gov’t

COLOMBO, Nov 16 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka’s parliament on Friday passed a no-confidence motion on the government as Speaker Karu Jayasuriya took a vote under heavy police presence.

The speaker, for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history, entered the floor of the House, well protected by hundreds of police personnel.

The parliament session which had been expected to start at 1:30 p.m. local time, was delayed for over 30 minutes as legislators had begun a protest surrounding the speaker’s desk.

Legislators in the protest called for the immediate arrest of two legislators from the United National Party, for bringing knives into the parliament a day earlier.

Following a tense situation, Speaker Jayasuriya entered the floor of the House and hurriedly called for a vote of no-confidence.
He initially called for a “vote by name,” but due to severe chaos and violence which had erupted, he concluded the vote with a “voice vote.”

Speaker Jayasuriya then announced that the motion had been passed, and the parliament was adjourned till Nov 19.

President Maithripala Sirisena, issuing a statement on his official Twitter account after the parliamentary session, said he urged all parliamentarians to uphold the principles of democracy and parliamentary traditions at all times.

He also said he would not prorogue parliament under any circumstances.

Government Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella told journalists in a media briefing soon after the incident that the government would not accept the vote as it was conducted in an “illegal” manner.

Ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking to reporters, condemned the incident by legislators earlier Friday and said the government had been defeated.

The Insides Speak.