Sri Lankan media have reported that Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who stands of accused of overseeing war crimes as tens of thousands of Tamils were massacred during 2009, is being sworn in as Sri Lanka’s prime minister.
The swearing in comes just minutes after the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by current president Maithripala Sirisena announced they would withdraw from the unity government, which has an alliance with the United National Party (UNP).
However, Sirisena’s collation partner and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told News First that despite the swearing in “I am still the Prime Minister of this country”. His comments were echoed by Sri Lanka's cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne. Wickremsinghe's UNP has reportedly called "all UNP MPs in and around Colombo who could make it to Temple Trees" for an urgent meeting that is currently underway. In a tweet shortly after the swearing in, Sri Lanka's Minister of Finance and Media Mangala Samaraweera called the move "unconstiutional & illegal" alleging it was an "undemocratic coup."
The swearing in of Mahinda Rajapaksa puts Sri Lanka's parliament into crisis.
Rajapaksa's appointment could be deemed unconstitutional as the uprooted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is yet to formally resign. However the swearing in of Rajapaksa could be legalised by passing a no-confidence motion in parliament against Mr Wickremesinghe.
Speaking to reporters Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe siad he was still prime minister and pledged to show his majority in parliament soon. See more here.
More to follow.