Colombo (Sri Lanka): Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday claimed that he decided to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over an assassinate plot to kill him. Sirisena on Friday night sacked Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Rajapaksa to the post. The surprising move was made after his United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) withdrew from the national coalition government.

In a televised address to the nation, President Sirisena said that a person under investigation revealed the name of a Cabinet minister who was involved in an alleged plot to kill him and the defense secretary. Defending his decision to sack Wickremesinghe, he said that under such circumstances he had no other choice but to sack him.

“This information contains a number of details hitherto hidden to the people. The informant has made a statement regarding a Cabinet minister involved in the conspiracy to assassinate me,” the Sri Lankan President said. He, however, did not reveal the name of the minister who was allegedly conspiring to kill him and the defense secretary. A source said that during the investigation, the name of former army commander Sarath Fonseka came up.

Meanwhile, one person died and two others were injured on Sunday after a bodyguard of a former minister shot at a crowd. The Sri Lanka political crisis was a violent turn of the pollical crisis in the country following President Maithripala Sirisena’s dissolution of the cabinet on Saturday and the swearing-in of a former strongman as Prime Minister.

Sirisena said he had acted under Article 42 (4) of the Sri Lankan Constitution, which said that the President “shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”. Wickremesinghe and his party called the President’s decision “illegal” and urged Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to convene Parliament immediately to prove he still retained his parliamentary majority.

With agency inputs