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President Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Wickremesinghe on October 26 and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a controversial former president, and suspended parliamentary proceedings until November 16.

"A majority of members have conveyed that the changes done in parliament are unconstitutional and against traditions", Jayasuriya said.

"I will have to accept the status quo prior to the changes" until a majority in parliament accepted them, he said.

Sirisena's side charged that Jayasuriya, a UNP senior, was backing his party leader Wickremesinghe by compromising the neutral position of speaker of parliament.

President Maithripala Sirisena fired him last month after months of tensions within the government and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as premier in a shock move that has plunged the nation into a political crisis.

In a setback to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, a deputy minister of his United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government resigned Tuesday and backed ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the ongoing political crisis.

Almost all politicians who left the UNP took up ministerial posts in the new cabinet.

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It is stated in the special gazette notification that parliament is called on the 14th according to the powers vested on the president by sub-ordinance 3.1 of the 70th ordinance of the constitution. Some members of his party have already alleged they were offered portfolios and huge amounts of money to switch allegiances.

Parliament road from Borella was a sea of heads as the crowds kept streaming into the Parliament Roundabout where the rally under the theme "Ratama Rakina Jana Mahimaya" presided over by the President and the Prime Minister was held.

Mr Rajapaksa's supporters have accused Mr Wickremesinghe of selling Sri Lanka's assets, citing a 99-year lease agreement his government struck with Hong Kong conglomerate China Merchants Port Holdings Co Ltd last year to operate a failing port developed with Chinese debt during Mr Rajapaksa's decade-long presidency.

On Saturday, the Tamil National Alliance - an ethnic minority Tamil party - said it will support a no-confidence motion to be brought against Rajapaksa, after one lawmaker from their party joined Rajapaksa's government.

Both rivals have been marshaling numbers behind the scenes, worrying civil society groups who protested Sunday in the capital Colombo against the horse-trading.

Supporters of Mr. Rajapaksa at the rally chanted "Whose power is this?" The President also requested former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to let the new government proceed with its business without any hindrance.

UNP supporters also condemned Sirisena's decision to recall parliament two days prior to the initial suspension order against Wickremesinghe, describing the move to be "eyewash to appease the ever-increasing global and local pressure".


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