Thousands March for Strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa

Sirisena has been Sri Lanka's president since 2015

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that he has the majority of 113 to form a formidable government.

The Government Printing Department released the relevant special gazette yesterday.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has announced that the country's Parliament will be reconvened on November 14.

Wickremesinghe, who has challenged his dismissal and vowed to remain prime minister until parliament voted him out, said there were worldwide concerns about a government led by Rajapaksa.

On Friday, 118 members of the 225-seat legislature met the speaker and called for the reconvening of parliament.

Sirisena suspended parliament after he appointed Rajapaksa, raising concern among political parties at home and among Sri Lanka's traditional allies such as India, the United States and European Union.

At a time it has been brought to my attention by the majority that the lawful summoning of Parliament has been prevented and the rights of the Members of Parliament have been usurped, in the name of justice and fair play, I have to make my stance known to the world, Jayasuriya was cited as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Jayasuriya said it would be "inappropriate" for him to side either way - but official sources said he took the unusual step to avoid publicly clashing with Sirisena.

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Wickremesinghe's suporters alleged that large sums of money had been offered to change sides.

Anaylists say Sirisena's move to suspend parliament to engineer defections from the UNP and its allies appears to have succeeded. Although Wickremesinghe and the opposition have called the president's dismissal unconstitutional, Rajapaksa remains one of the country's most popular leaders and will not be easy to shake.

New prime minister Rajapaksa's parliamentary strength has now been bolstered to 105 from 96. "I trust you and you can always trust me", Rajapaksa said.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's legislator son Namal on Sunday indicated that the long held demand of the Tamil minority community to release all Tamil prisoners may be fulfilled soon, a move aimed at persuading the Tamil legislators to support Rajapaksa.

GL Peiris, a leading Rajapaksa backer, however said the no confidence motion can not be taken up in a hurry.

The unity government was formed in 2015 when Sirisena was elected President with Wickremesinghe's support, ending a almost decade-long rule by Rajapaksa.

UNP supporters also condemned Sirisena's decision to recall parliament two days prior to the initial suspension order against Wickremesinghe, describing the move to be "eyewash to appease the ever-increasing worldwide and local pressure".

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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