Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Sri Lanka President Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Election

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena
Patty Aguilar | 10 November, 2018, 10:43

The move comes after an intense power struggle in the past two weeks which followed Sirisena's sudden sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the appointment of former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.

President Maithripala Sirisena signed a decree dismissing the island's 225-member assembly and scheduled parliamentary elections for January 5, almost two years ahead of schedule.

The President dissolved the parliament in a gamble to pave the way for snap elections to secure a majority for his party in a new government when the President-led UPFA realized that they do not have a majority in the parliament and has not been able to get enough crossover legislators to support them.

Given those views, it was not immediately clear how Sirisena can legally dissolve parliament, though his legal experts have said there are provisions for him to do so.

Under pressure from the United Nations, the USA and the European Union to allow a parliamentary vote, Sirisena agreed three times to lift the suspension but changed his mind each time.

"This is a gross violation of the constitution", Harsha De Silva, a lawmaker in Wickremesinghe's party, said in reference to the dissolution of parliament.

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The president was acting well within his constitutional rights in dismissing the parliament, Jayasekara stressed, adding: "The best thing is do now is go for an election. We will be fighting this to ensure that Democracy reigns supreme in the country", the party said on Twitter. He said the government must go to the people for confirmation on whether the president made the correct decision when he appointed him as prime minister. Sirisena said he had to fire Wickremesinghe for mismanaging the economy and because of a Cabinet minister's alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate Sirisena.

Sirisena suspended parliament to give himself more time to engineer defections, according to the opposition.

Wickremesinghe insists he holds a majority in parliament and has refused to vacate his position while Rajapaksa - a former strongman who ruled as president between 2005 and 2015 - enjoys widespread support for ending the country's brutal 26-year civil war. Several legislators have said they were offered millions of dollars to switch allegiance and at least eight have already jumped to the president's side.

Sri Lanka President dissolves parliament, general elections on January 5 Sat, Nov 10, 2018, 01:01 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

The EU said Friday, before the dissolution, that the crisis had scarred the Indian Ocean island's global reputation.

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