United Nations chief asks Sri Lankan leader to revert to parliamentary procedures

Ranil Wickremesinghe has refused to accept his dismissal

Sri Lanka s speaker has summoned parliament to meet next week in defiance of the president who has suspended the assembly until November 16.

A lawmaker from the main Tamil party defected to the Rajapaksa side and was made a minister on Friday.

In a statement, the TNA Saturday said Rajapaksa's appointment was a violation of the Constitution's 19th amendment.

Since his ouster, Wickremesinghe has remained at Temple Trees, the official residence of the prime minister - insisting he is still the legitimate leader because he commands majority support in Parliament.

Huge amounts are reportedly being offered to defectors.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) party, which has seven lawmakers, said its members had also rejected offers to join the Sirisena-Rajapakse camp.

"We appeal to you not to allow parliament to be put up for sale".

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During Rajapaksa's two terms as president, his government was credited with defeating the rebel Tamil Tigers and ending a 25-year civil conflict that pitted Sri Lanka's ethnic Sinhalese majority against its Tamil minority.

It expressed alarm at ministerial positions being given for changing political loyalties.

The Transparency International anti-graft watchdog highlighted the country's Bribery Act which made accepting and offering inducements a jailable offense.

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

The President had prorogued the parliament for 11 days, from October 27 to November 16, by issuing an Extraordinary Gazette Notification published by the Presidential Secretariat. Sirisena has been sending conflicting signals about his willingness to end the parliamentary suspension. He argues that he can not legally be removed until he loses the support of Parliament.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has joined the worldwide calls for Sirisena to reinstate parliament.

Sri Lanka will lose duty free access to the European Union if the country goes back to violating human rights, an ambassador has said, amid a political crisis sparked by a contested appointment of a new prime minister.

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