Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

No Snap Election, No Referendum To End Crisis: Sri Lanka President's Aide

No Snap Election, No Referendum To End Crisis: Sri Lanka President's Aide

The president said the dissolution of the parliament will take effect at midnight, and a new parliament will be summoned to meet on January 17.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved his country's parliament and declared snap elections almost two years ahead of schedule in a bid to preserve power.

The political crisis was started when he unconstitutionally ousted the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26 and appointed former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.

The President dissolved the parliament in a gamble to pave the way for snap elections to secure a majority for his party in a new government when the President-led UPFA realized that they do not have a majority in the parliament and has not been able to get enough crossover legislators to support them.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who two weeks ago sparked a crisis by sacking the prime minister and installing former authoritarian leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place, signed a decree for elections to be held 5 January, almost two years ahead of schedule.

"It's totally unconstitutional", said Harsha de Silva, a member of Wickremesinghe's United National Party and a former minister.

Respect our choices, China's Xi says ahead of Trump G20 meeting
Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi (YAHNG jee-uh-CHERR) is making his government's position clear after the latest round of U.S. Beijing officials attacked the White House for sending warships and planes close to the islands, which are claimed by China.

The president was acting well within his constitutional rights in dismissing the parliament, Jayasekara stressed, adding: "The best thing is do now is go for an election". "We will be fighting this to ensure that democracy reigns supreme in the country". Sirisena has filled only 22 of 30 cabinet positions - purposefully keeping some jobs vacant to tempt legislators of Wickremesinghe's party to defect to Rajapakse's side.

Later Sirisena agreed to reconvene parliament on November 14, but that will now not happen.

The former Prime Minister-led United National Party (UNP) says the dissolution of Parliament by the President Maithripala Sirisena today almost two years before its term expires is illegal and against the constitution.

Following the unprecedented decision, Wickremesinghe refused to accept the move and sought a vote in the Parliament to prove his majority, however, Parliament was suspended and was scheduled to reconvene, it was dissolved on Friday by Sirisena.

The admission, which came despite Sirisena's earlier claim that he had the support of 113 legislators when he sacked Wickremesinghe, had fuelled speculation that he would go for snap elections.

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. "This is what the people also want", he told Al Jazeera. At least eight have switched sides, but at least 120 deputies in the 225-seat parliament remain loyal to Wickramasinghe.

Like this: