Sri Lanka parliament passes motion to cut prime minister’s budget

Empty seats of parliament members backing newly appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa are seen as they left the parliament after boycotting, in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s parliament on Thursday passed a motion to cut the personal budget of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has refused to step down after twice losing confidence votes.

Lawmakers backing Rajapaksa boycotted the vote, which was passed by 123 to none in the 225-member parliament, declaring it illegal and calling into question the speaker’s impartiality.

The motion was aimed at preventing Rajapaksa from using government money for his day-to-day expenses as prime minister.

(This story corrects dateline to COLOMBO)

Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by John Geddie and Darren Schuettler

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