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Friday, April 20, 2018

Sri Lanka's president suspends parliament until May 8

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Sri Lanka's president suspended parliament on Thursday until May 8, days after a failed no-confidence motion attempt against the prime minister and the defection of several ministers forced a cabinet reshuffle.Only one parliament sitting was scheduled before May 8 and the new cabinet will swear in on April 23, two government legislators said. "The president has prorogued parliament until May 8," President Maithripala Sirisena's secretary, Austin Fernando, said, declining to say why.

A senior minister, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said : "The prorogation means all the existing parliament committees will be lapsed and new committees have to be appointed when the parliament is reconvened." Some main parliament committees including those looking into public enterprises and accounts are headed by opposition lawmakers.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe survived the confidence vote which was sponsored by opponents who blame him for failing to prevent an alleged scam in the bond market and anti-Muslim riots last month.But 16 lawmakers, most of them ministers, from Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) voted in favour of the no-confidence motion. They resigned their portfolios and decided to sit with the opposition, weakening the SLFP's coalition with Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP).

-Reuters, Colombo

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