Sri Lanka president dissolves parliament, orders snap vote
10 November, 2018, 10:40 | Author: Myra Gill
The political turmoil in Sri Lanka deepened on Friday, November 9, after President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved the Parliament, calling for early elections in the country on January 5, nearly 2 years ahead of schedule.
Following the sacking, the president suspended parliament in a move which Wickremesinghe said was meant to prevent the ousted prime minister from contesting the decision in the legislature.
Sirisena sparked the two week-old drama last month by sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and naming Mahinda Rajapaksa - the country's authoritarian president from 2005 until 2015 - as his replacement.
Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena waves to supporters at a rally on November 5, 2018, in Colombo.
"It's totally unconstitutional", said Harsha de Silva, a member of Wickremesinghe's United National Party and a former minister.
Under pressure from the local as well as worldwide organizations including the United Nations, European Union and Western governments, the President made a decision to reconvene the parliament on November 14, just two days ahead of the scheduled date.
The UK Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field said that he was concerned by news that Sri Lanka's Parliament has been dissolved days before it was due to be reconvened.
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".
"Unfortunately, we fear that recent actions, if not corrected, will threaten your country's democratic development and derail the progress made in recent years", said the letter to Sirisena. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe and another Cabinet member of plotting to assassinate him, a charge Wickremesinghe repeatedly denied. Wickramasinghe disputes the president's authority to fire him and has refused to leave the prime ministerial residence. 96 MPs had supported the party before the crisis.
The admission, which came despite Sirisena's earlier claim that he had the support of 113 legislators when he sacked Wickremesinghe, had fuelled speculation that he would go for snap elections.
Sirisena has said he fired Wickremesinghe because the prime minister was trying to implement "a new, extreme liberal political concept by giving more priority for foreign policies and neglecting the local people's sentiment". At least eight have switched sides, but at least 120 deputies in the 225-seat parliament remain loyal to Wickramasinghe.
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