Sri Lanka’s Parliament passed a no-confidence vote against the government headed by the hastily sworn-in Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as lawmakers convened Wednesday for the first time since the president dismissed his Cabinet and suspended the legislature last month.
The motion brought by the leader of an opposition party could mean that Rajapaksa will have to resign his post but does not necessarily mean the leader whose ousting set off the crisis will be reinstated.
Lawmakers supporting Ranil Wickremesinghe, whom President Maithripala Sirisena replaced with Rajapaksa on Oct. 26, had a visible majority in the chamber. Many wore shawls with the words “For democracy.”
As Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya prepared to let the no-confidence motion be debated, the chamber descended into chaos, with lawmakers supporting Rajapaksa filing into the center of the room shouting political slogans and accusing Jayasuriya of betraying the people’s mandate.
Jayasuriya then said he had no choice but to bypass the debate and take an oral vote, with those in favor clearly voicing more support for the motion than those against it.
Before the results were announced, Rajapaksa walked out of the chamber.
After it became clear last week that Rajapaksa would not survive a no-confidence motion, Sirisena dissolved Parliament, but the Supreme Court on Tuesday had ordered the legislature to keep working until next month.
Namal Rajapaksa, a lawmaker in his father’s United People Freedom Alliance party, told The Associated Press that they “don’t accept this verdict” and will continue as the government.
Lawmaker Ajith Perera, a Wickremesinghe supporter, said the results of the vote meant Wickremesinghe and his government would be reinstated.
It’s unclear if that would be the case.
Parliament adjourned after the vote and is to reconvene Thursday morning.