Sirisena defends changes as Rajapaksa supporters cheer

Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Prime Minister's official residence in Colombo Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Prime Minister's official residence in Colombo Sri Lanka

Wickremesinghe, who was recently removed from his position by President Maithripala Sirisena, continued to occupy Temple Trees last week.

November 7 or 14, as soon as the Parliament comes in session, Sri Lanka will get to know which party holds the majority in the 225-member assembly and also if the newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to be in power or the ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will lead the country.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) could tip the balance should parliament be recalled this week to decide between two rivals both claiming the lawful right to head Sri Lanka's government.

Asked by The Sunday Morning if he had the full support of his own party (UNP), Wickremesinghe confirmed that he commanded its full backing.

President Maithripala Sirisena has chose to convene parliament at 10 a.m. on the 14th of this month.

However, Wickremesinghe said the Police had launched an investigation into the allegations and that it was being seriously looked into.

The move on Oct 26 triggered an unprecedented constitutional crisis, plunging the island into political turmoil.

He has denied abuses and said in a statement after he was sworn in he wanted to end religious and ethnic divisions in the country of 21 million people.

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The United States and Japan have put some aid to Sri Lanka on hold because of the political crisis, Sri Lankan government officials have said.

"Foreign countries are trying to take our resources, take our land", said Mithra Kumara Jayasinghe, a wedding photographer at the rally who said he had voted for Rajapaksa the two times he was elected president, in 2005 and 2010, and when he lost a re-election bid in 2015.

The unity government was formed in 2015 when Sirisena was elected President with Wickremesinghe's support, ending a almost decade-long rule by Rajapaksa.

He said he hadn't received any money yet.

UNP supporters also condemned Sirisena's decision to recall parliament two days prior to the initial suspension order against Wickremesinghe, describing the move to be "eyewash to appease the ever-increasing global and local pressure".

Tens of thousands of people irrespective of their political affiliations yesterday thronged the Parliament Roundabout to express their solidarity with the new government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and new Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Tensions had been building between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe for some time, as the president did not approve of economic reforms introduced by the prime minister.

"However, the Prime Minister said it was not hard for both of them to work together as they had a very old friendship".

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