US, others censure dissolution of Sri Lankan parliament
colombo — Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament, worsening an already major political crisis, has drawn criticism from Western powers, including the United States and Britain.
Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday, only five days before it was due to reconvene, but a new cabinet he installed was in danger of losing a vote of no confidence. Sirisena also called a general election for January 5.
The president triggered a power struggle when he sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe late last month and appointed the island’s former leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.
The US Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said in a tweet that the United States was “deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka parliament will be dissolved, further deepening the political crisis”. It said democracy needed to be respected to ensure stability and prosperity.
Mark Field, the British minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, tweeted his concern about the dissolution of parliament days before it was due to be reconvened. “As a friend of Sri Lanka, the UK calls on all parties to uphold the constitution and respect democratic institutions and processes,” Field said.
Canada’s Foreign Policy twitter feed said that it was “deeply concerned” about the decision and referred to the risks to reconciliation work after the nation’s civil war.
“This further political uncertainty is corrosive to Sri Lanka’s democratic future and its commitments on reconciliation and accountability,” it said.
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne expressed both concern and disappointment in a statement, saying the move “undermines Sri Lanka’s long democratic tradition and poses a risk to its stability and prosperity”.