Parliament dissolved as crisis deepens
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The president of Sri Lanka dissolved the country’s Parliament Friday night, state media reported, deepening a two-week constitutional crisis over who is the legitimate ruler of the island nation.
The move, which critics said violated the nation’s constitution, came two weeks after President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with a popular former leader. That leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was accused of human rights abuses, nepotism and excessively close ties to China when he governed the country.
Wickremesinghe and many members of Parliament had challenged the legitimacy of Rajapaksa’s appointment, and foreign governments, including the United States, had urged Sri Lanka’s government to allow lawmakers in Parliament to decide who the prime minister should be.
Sirisena had declared that he would allow a vote when Parliament reconvened Wednesday.
By dissolving Parliament instead, Sirisena has plunged the country into political chaos. Wickremesinghe’s supporters were preparing legal papers Friday night to challenge the latest move in the country’s Supreme Court.