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Sri Lankan MPs walk out of parliament, as Rajapaksa opponents win control of key committee

Lawmakers loyal to Mahinda Rajapaksa staged a walkout this morning after the composition of the parliamentary select committee was passed, made up of a majority of opponents of the former president.

The parliamentarians from the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) were protesting against speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s appointment of MPs to the parliamentary select committee, which includes UPFA, five from the United National Front (UNF) of Ranil Wickeremesinghe, and one each from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).

Rajapaksa supporters wanted seven seats in the committee, which was formed to handle parliamentary affairs as political turmoil on the island deepened. With the TNA and JVP looking set to side with Wickremesinghe, UPFA parliamentarians protested against the makeup of the committee.

However, the panel’s composition was approved by 121 votes in favour, out of the 235-seat parliament.

Parliament is next due to sit on November 27.