Home >News >World >Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court thwarts President Sirisena’s snap election plan
President  Sirisena on Friday dissolved the 225-seat parliament and called for elections on 5 January and a new legislature to reconvene on 17 January. File photo: AP
President Sirisena on Friday dissolved the 225-seat parliament and called for elections on 5 January and a new legislature to reconvene on 17 January. File photo: AP

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court thwarts President Sirisena’s snap election plan

The Supreme Court's order means that Sri Lanka's parliament will reconvene on 14 November as earlier decided by the president

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s top court suspended an order by President Maithripala Sirisena to dissolve the island nation’s parliament and call a snap general election after prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe mounted a legal challenge against his ousting.

The Supreme Court granted interim relief until 7 December, staying the Presidential notice suspending parliament and halting preparations for the poll. The court’s order on Tuesday means that Sri Lanka’s parliament will reconvene on 14 November as earlier decided by the president. He was acting in response to mounting pressure to resolve the political crisis gripping the nation since his surprise dismissal of Wickremesinghe on 26 October and suspension of parliament the next day.

“We will be in parliament tomorrow and we will show the majority, that we are the legitimate government in Sri Lanka," Wickremesinghe told reporters in Colombo following the court’s decision.

Sirisena on Friday dissolved the 225-seat parliament and called for elections on 5 January and a new legislature to reconvene on 17 January. He fired Wickremesinghe, who served since 2015 as prime minister in a unity government with the president, and attempted to install Sri Lanka’s former strongman president Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister.

The call for a fresh election came after it seemed unlikely Sirisena could prove a majority of lawmakers to support his newly appointed prime minister. The move drew strong international condemnation and stalled about $2 billion worth of projects and grants.

Sirisena said in a statement on Sunday that he dissolved parliament because he feared the eruption of “widespread violence" when the house was due to reconvene on 14 November. He also referred to allegations of bribery by saying members of the legislature now had “price tags" on them.

On Sunday, Rajapaksa, who was previously a member of Sirisena’s party, announced he was joining the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, or People’s Front, the party he created to defeat the Sirisena and Wickremesinghe coalition in local elections earlier this year. State-run media said the two leaders were planning to fight the election as an alliance.

Regional powers China and India have been watching the events closely while the US said Sirisena’s moves jeopardized Sri Lanka’s economic progress and international reputation.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed)

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