Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Sri Lankan president dissolves Parliament, snap elections to be held in January

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has faced accusations of homophobia Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena
Kenny Thornton | 10 November, 2018, 14:46

Sirisena had suspended the House until November 16 which was later advanced by two days following worldwide pressure.

The election is likely to be held in early January after the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) said they were eight legislators short of a majority in the 225-member assembly that remains suspended.

A minister, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the official notification would take effect at midnight on Friday.

Dinesh Gunawardena, a government minister from Sirisena's party alleged that parliament was dissolved because of the conduct of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

The crisis started two weeks ago when Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and named Rajapaksa as his successor.

On Sunday, the president called for parliament to reconvene November 14 amid increasing worldwide pressure to resolve the crisis.

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. "At the end of the day, he is a victim of his own homegrown crisis".

Wickremesinghe insisted his firing is unconstitutional. Sirisena also accused Wickremesinghe and another Cabinet member of plotting to assassinate him, a charge Wickremesinghe repeatedly denied. He refused to acknowledge any human rights abuses in the final campaign, in which rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians died.

United States election: Florida Democrat calls for recount in tight Senate race
Scott announced the suit and his call for an investigation at a press conference at the governor's mansion Thursday night. Under state law in Florida, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidate's margin is less than 0 .5 percentage points.

Sri Lanka's largest party announced Saturday a legal challenge to President Maithripala Sirisena's sacking of parliament, a move that has plunged the Indian Ocean island nation into fresh turmoil and alarmed the worldwide community.

"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. "Sirisena has relegated the constitution to toilet paper". "We will fight in the courts, we will fight in parliament and we will fight at the polls".

"As a committed partner of Sri Lanka, we believe democratic institutions and processes need to be respected to ensure stability and prosperity", it said.

The U.S State Department tweeted that it is deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved, "further deepening the political crisis".

"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.

Rajapaksa indicated what was coming hours before the dissolution in a speech.

The president triggered an intense power struggle when he sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe late last month and appointed the island's former leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, a pro-China strongman ousted by Sirisena in 2015, in his place.

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