Rajapakse rally gathers as Sri Lanka showdown toughens
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Parliament has been suspended while Rajapakse seeks support for a vote of confidence showdown by tempting defectors from other parties (AFP pic)
COLOMBO: Thousands of supporters of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse headed for the capital on Monday to rally in support of his controversial nomination as prime minister, as a political crisis deepened.
The island nation has been gripped by constitutional turmoil since President Maithripala Sirisena sacked his former ally, prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, on October 26 and appointed Rajapakse in his place.
Busloads of Rajapakse followers were set to arrive from across the country for the rally planned near parliament in the capital Colombo.
Parliament has been suspended while Rajapakse seeks support for a vote of confidence by tempting defectors from other parties.
Tens of thousands attended a rally in support of Wickremesinghe last week, amid warnings from the parliamentary speaker Karu Jayasuriya that the dispute could end in a “bloodbath” if MPs are barred from holding a vote.