Sri Lankan parliament dissolved by president
Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena Friday ordered the immediate dismissal of parliament, clearing the way for a snap election 10 months ahead of schedule.
President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved the legislature “with effect from midnight today” in an official proclamation and said he would summon the new parliament to sit on Sept. 1.
The president decreed that elections would be held across the island on Aug.17, with candidates given a week ending July 13 to file nomination papers, according to the official gazette notification.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has pressed for early elections to increase the majority of his United National Party (UNP), which sat in opposition until Sirisena’s victory in January’s polls.
Wickremesinghe’s deputy, Harsha de Silva, said the UNP welcomed the election as an opportunity to increase the party’s strength in the legislature and ensure stability.
“Once the new government is established we will have our policies spelt out and it will be good for everybody and for investment confidence,” de Silva said.
The toppling of strongman Mahinda Rajapakse, who had ruled for almost a decade, led to a minority government which was unable to implement its legislative reforms without the support of the opposition.
But Sirisena inherited the outgoing parliament from his autocratic predecessor, who still controlled a loyal band of lawmakers who repeatedly blocked most of the re- forms, including fiscal policy moves.
However, Sirisena managed to restore the two-term limit on the presidency which Rajapakse had removed in 2010 and also reduce the presidential term and the life of a parliament to five years, down from six.
The parliament that will be elected in August cannot be sacked by the president for four and a half years. Previously, a president could dismiss the assembly after it completed one year of its full sixyear term.
A Sri Lankan vendor displays newspapers for sale at a stall in Colombo on Saturday, June 27.