US, UK rap dis­so­lu­tion of Sri Lanka’s Par­lia­ment

New Straits Times - - WORLD -

COLOMBO: Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena’s de­ci­sion to dis­solve Par­lia­ment, wors­en­ing a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, has drawn crit­i­cism from Western pow­ers.

Sirisena dis­solved Par­lia­ment on Fri­day night, only five days be­fore it was due to re­con­vene and he was in dan­ger of los­ing a vote of no con­fi­dence. He has also called a gen­eral elec­tion for Jan 5.

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.

The United States Bureau of South and Cen­tral Asian Af­fairs said the US was “deeply con­cerned by news the Sri Lanka Par­lia­ment will be dis­solved, fur­ther deep­en­ing the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis”.

Mark Field, the Bri­tish min­is­ter of State for Asia and the Pa­cific, tweeted his con­cern.

“As a friend of Sri Lanka, the UK calls on all par­ties to up­hold the con­sti­tu­tion and re­spect demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions,” he said.

Sirisena has said he fired Wick­remesinghe be­cause the lat­ter was try­ing to im­ple­ment “a new, ex­treme lib­eral po­lit­i­cal con­cept by giv­ing pri­or­ity for for­eign poli­cies and ne­glect­ing the lo­cal peo­ple’s sen­ti­ment”.

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