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Former British minister accuses Sirisena-Rajapaksa of cynical behaviour and bribing MPs

Former British Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire has criticised the Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena and his de facto prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, calling their behaviour “cynical” and accusing them of buying time to “bribe” MPs.

“International community well aware of cynical behaviour of Rajapaksa/[Sirisena] in delaying recall of Parliament in order to bribe more MP’s. We are watching,” Swire tweeted on Monday.

Last week, Swire asked the UK’s Foreign Secretary to point out to the Sri Lankan president that the international community continued to recognise Ranil Wickremesinghe as the “legitimate” prime minister of Sri Lanka and that “Parliament must be recalled as a matter of urgency”.

After initially suspending Sri Lanka’s parliament until November 16, President Sirisena ordered parliamentarians to reconvene on November 14.

Several formerly Wickremesinghe aligned parliamentarians have crossed over to the Rajapaksa-Sirisena camp, to widespread accusations of bribery and horse-trading, as both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa wrangle to prove a majority in Parliament.

At a rally of over 100,000 party supporters on Monday, President Sirisena vowed to push on with his planned change of government regardless of any international criticism.