Sri Lanka President dissolves Parliament

Frederick Owens
November 10, 2018

Under pressure from the local as well as global 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.

Relations between Wickremesinghe and Sirisena became strained this year after their coalition was defeated in local elections by a Rajapaksa-backed party.

Ranil Wickremasinghe who was sacked as PM on Oct 26 but refused to step down is a also contender for Presidents post in the next polls and therefore Sirisena saw him as a friend turning rival. The new Parliament is to be convened on January 17.

State television network Rupavahini announced on Friday that Sirisena signed a notification announcing the dissolution of Parliament effective at midnight Friday.

He said in a statement that a new parliament will be convened on January 17, after a general election is held on January 5.

India wants any dispensation in Colombo to safeguard its interests denying China military base; safeguard Tamil rights and expedite India funded projects.

The dissolution of parliament came after Mr Sirisena, the United Freedom Alliance leader, triggered a constitutional crisis earlier this month when he unceremoniously dumped Ranil Wickremesinghe from the prime minister's office.

The President of Sri Lanka dissolved parliament on Friday and called a snap election for January 5, in a move aimed at ending a political standoff that has disrupted its capital, Colombo, for weeks.

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He said: "It is risky if someone goes for an election after obtaining power through unconstitutional means". Later, the president said he had to fire Wickramasinghe because one of his ministers was involved in a "plot to assassinate" the head of state himself. "We will fight this dictator to the end".

Holding elections after an illegal and unconstitutional dissolution of parliament is not democracy.

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.

The leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP), which regards the sacking of Wickremesinghe as unconstitutional, accused Sirisena of trying to consolidate his power grab.

There was no immediate comment from Wickremesinghe, but his United National Party (UNP) said it will challenge Sirisena's sacking while several civil society groups were also planning to petition the Supreme Court against what they see as an illegal action of the executive.

Sirisena signed a decree dismissing the legislature in a bid to head off any revolt against his actions which included suspending parliament for almost three weeks.

The speaker of Sri Lanka's parliament, Karu Jayasuriya, last week warned that the country could descend into political violence if the legislature remained suspended.

The power struggle on the island of 21 million people has paralysed much of the administration, according to legislators on both sides of the dispute.

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