Sirisena calls snap elec­tions in Sri Lanka

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

“As a com­mit­ted part­ner of Sri Lanka, we be­lieve demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions and pro­cesses need to be re­spected to en­sure sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity,” it said.

Ex­pressed con­cern

Aus­tralia’s for­eign min­is­ter ex­pressed con­cern and said Sirisena’s ac­tion “un­der­mines Sri Lanka’s long demo­cratic tra­di­tion and poses a risk to its sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity”.

Just be­fore sack­ing the par­lia­ment, Sirisena also in­ducted more min­is­ters into his cab­i­net. The move was seen as giv­ing them ac­cess to state re­sources in the run up to the Jan­uary vote.

The left­ist Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Front (JVP), which re­gards the sack­ing of Wick­remesinghe as un­con­sti­tu­tional, ac­cused Sirisena of try­ing to con­sol­i­date his power grab.

“Dis­solv­ing par­lia­ment at this time is il­le­gal and goes against the con­sti­tu­tion,” JVP gen­eral sec­re­tary Til­vin Silva told re­porters.

Sirisena sus­pended par­lia­ment to give him­self more time to en­gi­neer de­fec­tions but failed, ac­cord­ing to the op­po­si­tion.

Sev­eral leg­is­la­tors have said they were of­fered mil­lions of dol­lars to switch al­le­giance and at least eight had al­ready jumped to the pres­i­dent’s side.

Un­der in­ter­na­tional pres­sure Sirisena had agreed three times to lift the sus­pen­sion but changed his mind each time.

Wick­remesinghe had late on Thurs­day thanked his sup­port­ers in a Face­book video for not let­ting Sri Lanka be “plunged into the dark­ness of dic­ta­tor­ship”.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear if he would va­cate the of­fi­cial Tem­ple Trees res­i­dence fol­low­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of par­lia­ment.

The power strug­gle on the is­land of 21 mil­lion peo­ple has paral­ysed much of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, ac­cord­ing to leg­is­la­tors on both sides of the dis­pute.

– File Photo

DES­PER­ATE MOVE: Sri Lanka Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena signed a de­cree dis­miss­ing the leg­is­la­ture in a bid to head off any re­volt against his ac­tions which in­cluded sus­pend­ing par­lia­ment for nearly three weeks.

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