Ranil Wickremesinghe (Photo: Sri Lanka. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

Sri Lanka’s embattled Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today (4) comfortably won the no-trust motion moved by the Joint Opposition against him, securing the majority support of 46 lawmakers in the 225-member Parliament.

The motion was moved by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Joint Opposition accusing 68-year-old Wickremesinghe of financial mismanagement and failing to tackle anti-Muslim riots last month in the central Kandy district.

Wickremesinghe, 68, who leads a national unity government in alliance with President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), received 122 votes against the motion while 76 favoured the motion to oust him.

Some 26 members were not present in the House when the vote was taken.

Among the 76, who opposed Wickremesinghe were at least 13 who were holding government positions from Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The SLFP and Wickremesinghe’s UNP are in a national unity government since 2015.

The minority Tamil and Muslim parties voted in favour of the premier.

Significantly some of the senior loyalists of Sirisena were absent at the vote.

Sirisena who was elected President in 2015 with support mainly from Wickremesinghe had called for premier’s stepping down mid last month after both political parties in the unity government lost badly to Rajapaksa’s new party.

The SLFP had insisted that Wickremesinghe should step down before the motion.

The motion charged Wickremesinghe of protecting his nominee as the Governor of Central Bank over his role in alleged Bond scam, bungling in economic policy management and failing to tackle an anti-Muslim minority riot last month.