Ousted PM’s party to fight House dis­so­lu­tion in court

The Free Press Journal - - WORLD -

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.

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