Sri Lanka president dissolves Parliament, calls for election

Mahinda Rajapaksa Short Of'Magic Number To Prove Majority Spokesperson

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday night and called a general election for January 5 in a move that will likely deepen the country's political crisis.

Meanwhile, Rajapaksa claimed that fresh elections "will truly establish the will of the people and make way for a stable country", PTI reported.

Tensions had been building between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe for some time, as the president did not approve of economic reforms introduced by the prime minister.

An intense power struggle has erupted in Sri Lanka in the past two weeks following Sirisena's sudden sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the appointment of former leader Rajapaksa, a pro-China strongman, in his place.

On Friday, Sirisena dissolved Parliament again, hours after his United People's Freedom Alliance party admitted that it does not have the numbers to enable Rajapaksa to win a confidence vote. The legislator called Sirisena a tyrant.

Wickremesinghe said his sacking was unconstitutional as he still enjoyed a majority in Parliament and still occupies the official residence. He maintained his choice for prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had a majority in Parliament.

Wickremesinghe's finance minister Mangala Samaraweera described the parliament sacking as a desperate move by Sirisena. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe and another Cabinet member of plotting to assassinate him, a charge Wickremesinghe repeatedly denied. Former President Rajapaksa drifted close to Beijing during his 2005-2015 rule, while Wickramasinghe is considered closer to India and pro-Western.

"A desperate president without a majority, now resorts to more desperate measures by illegally dissolving parliament", Samaraweera said.

England win first Test against Sri Lanka
England laid traps and Sri Lanka's batsmen sometimes fell into them with such willingness, it was as if they were "school kids". England captain Joe Root (three) also had a deja vu moment when Herath dismissed him for the second time in the match.

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

The UNP group comprising former MPs including Ravi Karunanayake, Ajith P. Perera, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Vajira Abeywardena, Gayantha Karunatilleke, Dr. Harsha de Silva and Rajitha Senaratne met the Election Commission members to lodge a protest over the dissolution of Parliament and calling for elections. "Sirisena has relegated the constitution to toilet paper".

Rajapaksa was hoping to return to helm of affairs in Colombo ahead of Presidential and Parliamentary polls and introduce populist policies.

In a situation that has developed into a full-blown political crisis for the South Asian island nation, Wickremesinghe has refused to leave his position since being expelled by Sirisena on October 26.

The U.S. State Department tweeted that it is deeply concerned by news that the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved, "further deepening the political crisis".

What effect will this have on Sri Lanka's stability?

"This dissolution by the President is illegal and goes against the constitution". "We will be fighting this to ensure that democracy reigns supreme in the country".

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