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Sri Lanka's parliament passes no-confidence vote against newly appointed PM Rajapaksa

Ishara Kodikara, AFP | File photo of Sri Lankan parliament building in Colombo taken November 10, 2018.

Sri Lanka's parliament passed a no-confidence vote against the controversially appointed government of Mahinda Rajapakse Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court overturned a presidential decree dissolving the legislature.

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Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ruled that a majority of the 225-member assembly supported a no-confidence motion against Rajapakse who was made prime minister on October 26 in place of Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Parliament convened for the first time since October 27, when President Maithripala Sirisena suspended the legislature after firing the sitting prime minister and Cabinet in a power struggle and plunging the island nation into a crisis.

Sirisena dissolved Parliament last week in a bid to build support for Rajapaksa but the Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the presidential decree and ordered the legislature to keep working until next month.

The motion could mean that Rajapakse will have to resign from his post. But it does not automatically mean that Wickremesinghe, whose party is the biggest in parliament, has won the constitutional showdown. President Maithripala Sirisena retains the power to choose the next prime minister.

Chinese involvement in Sri Lankan economy

The political crisis in in the strategically important island nation of 21 million people has raised concerns in the international community with the US, EU and other powers calling for a resolution to the crisis.

Only China has recognised the appointment of Rajapakse, who during his decade as president until 2015 relied heavily on Beijing for diplomatic and financial support.

WB EN DEBATE SRI LANKA 1102

As president from 2005 until 2015, Rajapakse ended Sri Lanka's four-decade civil war in 2009 by crushing the Tamil Tigers.

But 40,000 ethnic Tamils were allegedly massacred in the process.

During an earlier stint as prime minister from 2001 until 2004, Wickremesinghe is credited with pulling Sri Lanka out of its first ever recession, in part with reforms that have endeared him to the West.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

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