Factional conflict in Sri Lankan elite underscores dangers facing working class


Factional conflict in Sri Lankan elite underscores dangers facing working class

K. Ratnayake

9 November 2018

The political crisis triggered by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s dismissal of Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and his replacement with former President Mahinda Rajapakse continues. The infighting between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by Sirisena and Rajapakse and Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) points to the dangers facing the working class.

Both sections of the political elite, which have consistently suppressed the basic rights of the working people and the poor, are falsely posturing as defenders of democracy in order to secure government control and deepen the drive to place the burden of the country’s economic crisis on the masses.

In their bid to form a government, Sirisena and Rajapakse have appointed ministers on a virtual daily basis and plan to have 30 cabinet ministers. Mahinda Samarasinghe, the newly-appointed government spokesman and ports minister, yesterday said the appointments would be completed by November 14.

Sirisena initially suspended parliament until November 16 but, in response to international pressure, brought the date forward by two days. The suspension sought to give Rajapakse time to secure a parliamentary majority via new ministerial appointments and other horse-trading deals.

Parliamentary party leaders met with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday to discuss the November 14 agenda. Jayasuriya said he would give priority to a no-confidence motion submitted by 116 MPs against Rajapakse. The vote would determine which faction had a majority.

SLFP members of parliament insisted that President Sirisena’s address should come first, followed by a “vote on account” to provide temporary…

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