US, oth­ers cen­sure dis­so­lu­tion of Sri Lankan par­lia­ment

Khaleej Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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”.

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