An all-party meeting called by Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena to try and end the political stalemate gripping the country failed to breach the political impasse. The meeting was held between Sirisena, the sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the newly sworn in Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The trio met on Sunday for more than two hours at the president's office in Colombo, but it did not achieve any result. Speaking to reporters after Sunday's meeting, Lakshman Kiriella, a legislator from Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP), said the party told the president "we can show majority again", but he "showed no interest".
No breakthrough at so called all party meeting with Pres @MaithripalaS now. They want to drag impasse along giving lame excuses of procedure as #FakePM does NOT have 113. What a damn shame, taking #SriLanka down for your political survival. Go, MR Go. For Gods sake Go! #CoupLK pic.twitter.com/ef1cKJU7aP
— Harsha de Silva (@HarshadeSilvaMP) November 18, 2018
However, Sirisena contradicted this statement and said he would only accept a no-confidence motion if a vote was "taken by name of members or by electronic voting". A voice vote, though technically legal, was not acceptable on such an important matter as it lacked transparency, he added.
He also said all parties had agreed that future parliamentary proceedings will be "conducted peacefully".
Wickremesinghe has said Sri Lanka needs "stability" and that he was ready to work with Sirisena despite the personality clash that triggered the constitutional crisis. But the President was reportedly ‘frosty’ with the deposed leader during the all-party meet.
Sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe has demanded a vote of no-confidence against Rajapaksa but Rajapaksa’s supporters have disrupted proceedings and not allowed the vote to happen. A voice vote conducted by the Speaker of the Parliament saw Wickremesinghe’s no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa get 122 votes in the 225-member house which means Rajapaksa does not have the majority to form the government. However, Rajapaksa’s supporters have resorted to brawling in the parliament, with loyalist MPs smashing furniture, throwing chilli powder and projectiles at opposition members in a bid to disrupt the second no-confidence motion against him.
The all-party meeting also came after the Speaker of the Parliament Karu Jayasuriya announced on Friday, November 16 that he would recognise neither Wickremesinghe nor Rajapaksa as premier. Which officially leaves Sri Lanka with no government in place.