Sri Lanka's new government suffered its first setback in parliament Tuesday when its proposal to raise the state borrowing limit by over $3.0 billion was shot down by legislators after a heated debate.
The government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had asked the 225-member legislature to approve raising the Treasury Bond limit by 400 billion rupees ($3.0 billion) to 1,250 billion rupees.
MPs voted 31 in favour and 52 against in what analysts saw as a major embarrassment for the government.
There was no immediate reaction from the government to the shock defeat. But earlier in the day the ruling party said it needed more money to meet spending commitments made by the previous regime.
The government came to power after Maithripala Sirisena won the backing of most of the opposition and defeated strongman President Mahinda Rajapakse, who had ruled the country for a decade.
Despite lacking a parliamentary majority, Sirisena appointed the then-opposition leader Wickremesinghe to form a minority government.
Tuesday's vote exposed its vulnerability.
Sirisena came to power promising to scrap the executive presidency and return the country to a parliamentary democracy.
In his election manifesto, he promised to dissolve parliament on April 23 and call a fresh parliamentary election after establishing democratic institutions to run the public service, the police, the elections department and the judiciary.
Higher education minister Rajiva Wijesinghe resigned last month, saying political reforms had not gone far enough.
The new government has drafted a constitutional provision to reduce some of the president's executive powers and a two-day debate is scheduled from Thursday.