6 ministers quit Sri Lanka's govt.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday suspended parliament for almost a month, an unexpected move that comes as a power struggle deepens between him and his unity government's prime minister.

The move came after the government promised a cabinet reshuffle after a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was defeated last week.

The cabinet ministers who resigned were the Sports Minister, Dayasiri Jayasekara; Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare, S.B. Dissanayake and Disaster Management Minister, Anura Yapa.

Earlier this week, the 16 legislators who voted for the motion quit the national unity government, at the same time pledging support to their party leader, President Sirisena.

The UNP had demonstrated it had a comfortable majority in parliament and if a vote was taken against the Sirisena-faction SLFP ministers, they would have had to go. "Our duty will be to promote the SLFP from now on", he added.

The ministers from the Sirisena-led ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party sent their resignation to the President late on Wednesday night.

Relations between the rival groups in the unity government soured after both suffered losses in February's local council elections.

The other SLFP ministers, who had remained absent from the House during the no-confidence motion, will remain in the government, sources said.

The SLFP is to decide later this month if it will remain in government. Sirisena immediately urged the resignation of Wickremesinghe but he resisted.

In the run-up to the election, Sirisena branded the prime minister and his party as more corrupt than the Rajapaksa regime, which Sirisena and Wickremesinghe jointly toppled in 2015.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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