Ranil says US, Japan freeze aid over political crisis

Thousands march in support of Sri Lanka's new government

Wickremesinghe said in an interview with The Associated Press last week that there is credible evidence that Rajapaksa's party is attempting to buy support in Parliament.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) could tip the balance should parliament be recalled this week to decide between two rivals both claiming the lawful right to head Sri Lanka's government.

Supporters of Mr Rajapaksa at the rally chanted "Whose power is this?"

Parliamentary speaker Karu Jayasuriya has urged the president to call together legislators, warning the dispute could end in a "bloodbath" if MPs are barred from holding a vote.

Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans marched on Monday in support of the government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sirisena announced on Sunday that parliament would reconvene on November 14, a week later than he had promised, prolonging the power struggle that has crippled the country.

Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe smiles as he speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Prime Minister's official residence in Colombo November 3, 2018.

Asked what his next step would be if Parliament is not convened before 16 November, Wickremesinghe said that they had a plan in mind and would implement it.

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The move on Oct 26 triggered an unprecedented constitutional crisis, plunging the island into political turmoil.

"I have to agree with the majority of parliament who believe that the president's actions are undemocratic, unconstitutional and against all norms of parliamentary procedure", Jayasuriya, who holds a neutral position in parliament, said Monday. Parliamentarians are also favouring the ousted PM along with the speaker.

Mr Sirisena and Mr Rajapaksa arrived at the rally amid loud cheers.

But, over the past three years, differences arose between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe over several issues including economic reforms, key policy moves and a probe into military officers accused of human rights violations during the country's civil war with LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).

President Sirisena said he appointed a new person who is state friendly and who has a clear vision for the country and one who would not bow down to foreign agendas. "I trust you and you can always trust me", Rajapaksa said. The President also requested former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to let the new government proceed with its business without any hindrance.

"People praised President Maithripala Sirisena for appointing me as the Prime Minister endorsing the real mandate received at the last Local Government polls", Prime Minister Rajapaksa said.

He said he hadn't received any money yet.

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