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Millions of rupees reportedly up for grabs as tussle for parliamentary majority in Sri Lanka continues

Sri Lanka’s leaders are reportedly offering millions of rupees to parliamentarians, as political turmoil in Colombo has led to a scramble to reach a parliamentary majority.

Sri Lanka’s current State Minister of Defence and UNP parliamentarian Ruwan Wijewardene alleged that there were offers to party leaders of Rs. 500 million and offers to ministers of Rs. 300 million to cross over to support Maithripala Sirisena and his newly appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

His claim comes as fellow UNP parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake alleged that China was bribing lawmakers into backing Rajapaksa.

"I am telling China not to spend their millions to buy MPs in Sri Lanka. They want to buy the country wholesale," he said.

The accusation sparked angry denials from the Chinese embassy in Colombo, who said that "recent allegations about China by MP Ranjan Ramanayake are groundless and irresponsible”. Beijing follows "the principle of non-interference in other country's internal affairs," they added.

Meanwhile the UNP’s current finance minister Mangala Samaraweera said the proroguing of parliament until November 16th was done so that Rajapaksa could have the time to try and secure votes.

"If he (the president) has the majority there is no need to keep parliament shut. He wants to buy time to do some horse deals," Samaraweera said.

See more from AFP here.