Just a day after Sri Lanka’s parliament decided to cut the budget to prime minister’s office, ministers on Friday (30) voted to stop payment of minister’s salaries.
“The motion to cut down the expenditures of ministers, deputy ministers and state ministers is passed,” parliament’s speaker Karu Jayasuriya said.
The island nation has been embroiled in a political gridlock for more than a month after president Maithripala Sirisena sacked former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Wickremesinghe has objected to his removal and said Rajapaksa’s appointment was illegal and unconstitutional. Rajapaksa was twice sacked by the parliament, but he has refused to resign.
Meanwhile, Rajapaksa’s loyalists have declared the vote illegal.
“The motion today presented is illegal and we have mentioned it to the speaker too. We will not attend such illegal motions,” Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, a minister in Rajapaksa’s government, told reporters.
Last week, president Sirisena said he would not reinstate Wickremesinghe as prime minister if he was able to prove his majority in parliament, proving that the political impasse might drag much longer than expected.
“I will not appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister in my lifetime. Even if they have a majority, I have told them not to propose him as I won’t appoint him as prime minister,” Sirisena told foreign media.
He said he replaced Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa because of policy differences and a sharp rise in corruption.
Sirisena also added that he would appoint a commission to investigate corruption and malpractice “under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government.”
Sirisena further added that he was ready to appoint anyone from Wickremesinghe’s party as prime minister except Wickremesinghe himself.
“To appoint a prime minister, I should also like the person and should be able to work with the person,” he said.