Sri Lanka president Maithripala Sirisena dismisses parliament

Sri Lanka president Maithripala Sirisena dismisses parliament

The dissolution is the latest twist in a constitutional crisis that began October 26 when Sirisena unexpectedly fired Ranil Wickremesinghe, who served since 2015 as prime minister in a unity government with Sirisena. "We will fight in the courts, we will fight in parliament and we will fight at the polls". Sri Lanka will hold a snap election in January, the country's president announced late November 9, hours after dissolving parliament when it became clear his prime minister nominee did not have a majority.

Sirisena had said on Monday that he had the support of 113 legislators when he sacked Wickremesinghe.

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.

Rajapaksa was accused of engaging in horse trading backed by China to secure majority in Parliament when it would have convened on Nov 14. He attempted to install Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister.

Rajapakse and Wickremesinghe have been battling for the prime minister's post for two weeks as worldwide concern grows over the mounting turmoil.

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. Previously, Sirisena's party admitted to not having the votes to confirm ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister.

Global 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.

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"As a committed partner of Sri Lanka, we believe democratic institutions and processes need to be respected to ensure stability and prosperity", it said. Sirisena said he had to fire Wickremesinghe for mismanaging the economy and because of a Cabinet minister's alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate Sirisena.

Jayasuriya said this week he can't recognize Rajapaksa until he demonstrates a majority in the legislature.

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.

Under pressure from the local as well as global organizations including the United Nations, European Union and Western governments, the President made a decision to reconvene the parliament on November 14, just two days ahead of the scheduled date.

On Thursday Wickremesinghe thanked his supporters and urged them not to give up in the showdown.

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.

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