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Sri Lanka parliament Speaker warns of ‘bloodbath’ amid political crisis

“We should settle this through parliament, but if we take it out to the streets, there will be a huge bloodbath,” Jayasuriya told reporters.

world Updated: Oct 29, 2018 15:39 IST
AFP
AFP
Colombo
Sri Lanka,Parliament Speaker,Karu Jayasuriya
A constitutional crisis gripping Sri Lanka since the president's shock dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe erupted into violence.(AFP)

Parliament speaker Karu Jayasuriya warned Monday that Sri Lanka’s political crisis could turn into a “bloodbath” as the ousted prime minister said the country faced a dangerous power vacuum.

Jayasuriya said he asked President Maithripala Sirisena to revoke his suspension of parliament and allow lawmakers to resolve an alarming power struggle between the sacked premier and the head of state.

“We should settle this through parliament, but if we take it out to the streets, there will be a huge bloodbath,” Jayasuriya told reporters.

He said he urged Sirisena, whose shock dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday unleashed a political crisis and clashes that claimed one life, to let the premier prove his majority through a parliamentary vote.

Read: Rajapaksa assumes charge as new Sri Lankan Prime Minister

After sacking Wickremesinghe, the president appointed former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse as prime minister, leaving the country with two people claiming to run the government.

Wickremesinghe said a majority of lawmakers from his side and the opposition wanted to restore parliament.

“At the moment there is a vacuum, no one is in full charge of the country,” Wickremesinghe told reporters at his official residence.

“That is why we want parliament summoned immediately to decide who enjoys the majority. I am still the prime minister who commands that majority.”

After sacking Wickremesinghe on Friday, Sirisena suspended parliament until November 16 to forestall any challenge to his appointment of Rajapakse, whose decade-long rule was marked by grave allegations of rights abuses.

First Published: Oct 29, 2018 15:39 IST