The U.S State Department Sunday expressed concern over the political crisis in Sri Lanka and called on the country’s president to “immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfil their responsibility to affirm who will lead their government.”
“We urge all sides to refrain from intimidation and violence,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “We call on the President, in consultation with the Speaker, to immediately reconvene parliament and allow the democratically elected representatives of the Sri Lankan people to fulfil their responsibility to affirm who will lead their government,” AFP quoted the spokeswoman as saying.
President Maithripala Sirisena had removed Wickremesinghe on Friday and appointed his former nemesis Mahinda Rajapaksa to take over and form a new government. Sirisena then suspended the parliament until November 16. Wickeremesinghe has refused to vacate the position and demanded an emergency parliament meeting to prove his majority.
Sirisena later said he sacked his prime minister mainly because of the alleged involvement of a Cabinet minister in a plot to assassinate him. In a televised address to the nation, President Maithripala Sirisena said a person questioned by investigators had revealed the name of a minister in an alleged plot to assassinate him and a former defense secretary, reported AP.
He said the only choice for him under the circumstances was to dismiss Ranil Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa to take over as prime minister.
In the violence that followed the political crisis, one person was killed and two injured on Sunday when bodyguards for Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, loyalist of sacked Wickremesinghe, fired live rounds as a mob allied to the president threatened the cabinet member.