Opponents of Rajapaksa win control of panel in Parliament

November 23, 2018 - 1:31 am

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Opponents of disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have won control of a powerful panel in Sri Lanka's Parliament in a key vote that deals a severe blow to his government.

Sri Lanka has been in political crisis since late October when the president abruptly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa. Parliament rejected Rajapaksa in a no-confidence motion last week, but he called the vote improper, and now both men claim to be the legitimate officeholder.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced Friday the members of the powerful committee that sets Parliament's agenda. Seven of the 12 members are opponents of Rajapaksa while his supporters have five slots.

Before the vote, a Rajapaksa supporter accused Jayasuriya of violating parliamentary traditions and being partial to Wickremesinghe. Jayasuriya was elected from Wickremesinghe's party.

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