'Sri Lanka has no PM, cabinet after no-confidence vote'

'Sri Lanka has no PM, cabinet after no-confidence vote'

Udaya Padmashantha, member of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) that supports Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, is stopped from grabbing a mace after a no-confidence vote in Colombo, Sri Lanka. AP/PTI photo

The Speaker of Sri Lanka's parliament, Karu Jayasuriya, on Thursday said that in his view the country did not have a prime minister or cabinet after Wednesday's no-confidence vote.

The parliament passed the no-confidence motion against recently appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government, with the backing of 122 lawmakers from the 225-member legislature.

However, President Maithripala Sirisena in a letter to the speaker said he cannot accept the no-confidence vote as the speaker appeared to have ignored the constitution, parliamentary procedure and traditions.

President Sirisena, who triggered the crisis by firing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and naming Rajapaksa to the job late last month, dissolved parliament last week and ordered elections as a way to break the deadlock.

But the Supreme Court ordered a suspension of that decree on Tuesday until it had heard petitions challenging the move as unconstitutional.