Ousted PM’s party to fight House dissolution in court
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has signed a special gazette notification dissolving the Parliament and declaring January 5, 2019, as the date for a snap parliamentary election.
The President said nominations for the parliamentary elections would be called from November 19 to 26, reports Xinhua news agency. He set January 17, 2019 as the new date for the new Parliament to convene.
Sirisena’s move to dissolve Parliament comes one and a half years ahead of the scheduled parliamentary poll. The President sacked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former president Mahinda Rajapakse to the post on October 26.
Sirisena’s move came after his United People’s Freedom Alliance quit the national unity government which it had formed with Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).
New premier Mahinda Rajapakse welcomed the President’s decision of dissolving the Parliament, saying a parliamentary election “will truly establish the will of the people and make way for a stable country”.
In another development, Wickremesinghe’s UNP will challenge in court what it termed as the illegal dissolution of Parliament by President Sirisena a day after he announced a snap election in January. “The party will be pursuing the intervention of the courts to ensure the rule of law and the Constitution is protected against autocratic moves,” a UNP statement said.
Former finance minister and UNP leader Mangala Samaraweera said, “The emerging tyranny of Sirisena will be fought in courts, in Parliament and at the election”.
Sri Lanka’s political crisis deepened as Sirisena dissolved Parliament and announced snap polls after it became evident he did not have enough support in the House for PM Rajapaksa, appointed under controversial circumstances. Dinesh Gunawardena, a government minister from Sirisena’s party alleged Parliament was dissolved because of the conduct of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
“He gave illegal orders in defiance of the President,” Gunawardena said referring to Jayasuriya’s assertion that the Parliament must hold a floor test to prove the legality of the appointment of Rajapaksa as prime minister replacing Wickremesinghe.