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Embattled Sri Lankan Prez Gotabaya defeats no-confidence motion

Embattled Sri Lankan Prez Gotabaya defeats no-confidence motion
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Colombo: Embattled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa-led government won two important victories in Parliament on Tuesday when its candidate for the slot of Deputy Speaker got elected while it convincingly defeated an Opposition move to hasten a debate on a censure motion that blamed him for the island nation's worst economic crisis.

A no-confidence motion tabled by the Opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M A Sumanthiran to censure President Rajapaksa was defeated 119-68 in a deeply-divided Parliament, amidst nationwide protests demanding his resignation due to the hardship faced by the

people.

With the no-confidence motion, the Opposition sought to demonstrate how nationwide calls for President Rajapaksa's resignation is reflected in the country's 225-member legislature.

Hours earlier, the candidate from the ruling SLPP won a key vote when its lawmaker Ajith Rajapaksha was on Tuesday elected Deputy Speaker of the country's Parliament, which met for the first time since the resignation of the former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the swearing-in of the new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Rajapaksha, 48, from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Party (SLPP) was elected following a secret ballot conducted in Parliament.

He secured 109 votes and the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya nominee Rohini Kavirathna received 78 votes. Rajapaksha is not related to the ruling Rajapaksa family but comes from the same home district of Hambantota.

House Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said 23 votes were rejected.

The post of deputy speaker was left vacant after Ranjith Siyamabalapitiya resigned from the post twice in one month this year.

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