International concerns about Sri Lanka's ongoing political crisis are growing, pushing major powers to take action.
Nearly $500 million in U.S. aid and a Japanese loan of $1.4 billion have both been put on hold amid fears about the state of democracy in Sri Lanka, the country's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Reuters over the weekend.
That came after the European Union said last week that it may revoke Colombo's trade privileges if the government doesn't continue progress on human rights and Sinhalese-Tamil reconciliation. Strife between the country's two major ethnic groups — the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils — underlined a brutal civil war that lasted from 1983 to 2009.
"Countries are sensitive ... democratic countries have concerns," Reuters quoted Wickremesinghe as saying with regard to his dismissal.
More than a week after President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Wickremesinghe with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Colombo remains in a political deadlock. Wickremesinghe, who called the move illegal, refused to leave his post, essentially leaving the country with two prime ministers.
After a period of forced recess, parliament is now due to reconvene Monday. That means members of parliament will be able to hold a confidence vote on Rajapaksa but many fear the decision could be rigged amid potential attempts to intimidate and bribe officials. Speaker of the Parliament Karu Jayasuriya announced Monday that Rajapaksa would not be accepted as the new prime minister until he proves he commands a majority in parliament, Reuters reported.