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COLOMBO: Sri Lanka´s former strongman leader Mahinda Rajapakse, who was controversially sworn in as the new prime minister, is a charismatic leader whose human rights record had attracted widespread global censure.

A large gathering of politicians and the supporters of the United People's Freedom Alliance and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party got together in front of the Presidential Secretariat to convey their wishes to the newly appointed Prime Minister.

Sacked Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday (Oct 27) demanded the parliament speaker call an emergency session so he can prove his majority, officials said. Later, Sirisena aides supported a no-confidence motion against Wickremesinghe, who survived the vote after a majority of legislators backed his government.

Speaking to jubilant supporters outside his Colombo home late Friday, Rajapakse called on Wickremesinghe to step down. In particular, the president can only appoint another prime minister where the serving prime minister has lost office in any one of these ways. Only time will tell what long-term damage this does to Sri Lanka's constitutional fabric.

Members of his party must "respect democracy, respect the country and respect the law", the former president said through a loudhailer from a balcony.

Parliamentary officials said the president prorogued the house till November 16.




In 2015, Rajapaksa sought his third term in office in the presidential election held on Jan 8, while the opposition supported his former aide Maithripala Sirisena as the joint opposition candidate. Two other constituent party leaders from minority Tamil and Muslim parties, Mano Ganesan, Palani Digambaram and Rishath Bathiyutheen also said they would be firmly in support of Wickremesinghe and called Sirisena's move to sack Wickremesinghe as illegal and unconstitutional.

But he also was criticized internationally for failing to allow an investigation into allegations of war crimes by the military.

After winning the presidency as a neutral candidate, Sirisena accepted an offer from Rajapaksa to take over his Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

In May, Sirisena asked his prime minister to end their power struggle and said the coalition should commit to a reform agenda to revive the country emerging from a decades-long ethnic war that claimed more than 100,000 lives. "This is an undemocratic coup", Mangala Samaraweera, finance minister of the outgoing government, said on Facebook.

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena formed a coalition government with Wickremesinghe's party soon after Sirisena unexpectedly defeated former ally Rajapaksa in a presidential election in January 2015.

Rights groups say tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed in the final stages of the campaign, but Rajapakse has refused to acknowledge any abuses in the civil war.


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