Maithripala Sirisena dissolves Sri Lankan Parliament

Maithripala Sirisena dissolves Sri Lankan Parliament

An official notification signed by Sirisena announced the dissolution of Parliament effective midnight Friday.

Sirisena agreed thrice to reconvene parliament which he had suspended shortly after sacking Wickremesinghe to prevent him proving his majority on the floor of the House.

Former Sri Lankan president and the man who was sworn in as Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa supported the dissolution, and said, "As leaders, it is our responsibility and obligation to give the people the opportunity to voice their opinions on the future of #SriLanka".

Mr Amunugama said that on Wednesday "there was to be a lot of commotion and unparliamentary activities sponsored by the speaker".

Sirisena's supporters had been irked by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya's announcement that he was going to call for a vote for either party to prove their support.

"At the end of the day, he is a victim of his own homegrown crisis".

Wickremesinghe has insisted his firing is unconstitutional.

"We believe this action undermines Sri Lanka's long democratic tradition and poses a risk to its stability and prosperity", the country's foreign minister, Marise Payne, said.

Given those views, it was not immediately clear how Sirisena can legally dissolve parliament, though his legal experts have said there are provisions for him to do so. "The amendment will have been negated if this absurd argument is allowed to succeed".

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Worldwide concern has grown over the mounting turmoil, with Wickremesinghe refusing to leave the premier's official residence while the president also suspended parliament to head off any revolt against his action. He refused to acknowledge any human rights abuses in the final campaign, in which rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians died. Former President Rajapaksa drifted close to Beijing during his 2005-2015 rule, while Wickramasinghe is considered closer to India and pro-Western.

Independent legal experts have told Reuters that parliament could be dissolved only in early 2020, which would be four-and-half-years from the first sitting of the current parliament.

"I have watched over the last two weeks as the executive branch has seized the rights and usurped the powers of members of parliament who were elected to represent the people".

Following the Parliament's dissolution on Friday, the United National Party - of which Ranil Wickremesinghe is the leader - vehemently rejected the move, and said that it was illegal.

The party said in a Twitter message that it would meet the elections commissioner to discuss the constitutionality of Sirisena's move.

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 the European Union.

While the United States was quick to react, saying that the dissolution deepened the political crisis and that democratic institutions be respected, India did not issue any official statement on Sirisena's move.

"Unfortunately, we fear that recent actions, if not corrected, will threaten your country's democratic development and derail the progress made in recent years", said the letter to Sirisena.

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