It is yesterday once more in Sri Lanka as president Maithripala Sirisena signed papers to dissolve the country’s parliament with effect from Friday midnight.
In a shock move ealier, Sirisena had on 26 Oct, had sacked the prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former leader Mahinda Rajapaksha in his place.
The latest move came after Maithripala admitted his govt could not garner majority to get his prime minister nominee through the legislature.
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) said they were eight legislators short of a majority in the 225-member Assembly that remains suspended, he added.
“We now have 104 or 105 seats, but we will show majoirty of 113 and more on the parliament floor,” UPFA had claimed prior to the dissolution.
Wickremesinghe’s United National Party(UNP) swiftly denounced the move tweeting it “vehemently rejects” the sacking of the parliament. The party accused Sirisena of robbing the “people of their rights and democracy”.
UNP had earlier argued that while president has powers to appoint the prime minister, he lacks authority to sack the incumbent.
Following Friday’s dissolution, it demanded a parliamentary vote to prove Wickremesinghe’s majority.
However a cabinet minister, Dagasiri Jaasekara said, Sirisena has no choice but to dissolve parliament because of Wickremesinghe’s refusal to step down.
The dissolution of the parliament comes amid weeks of intense horse-trading as opposing parties clamoured to establish majority of 113 legislators in the 225-member parliament.
Sirsisena’s UPFA had backing of 96 legislators prior to the crisis. And UNP whose number declined from 106 to 98 amid defections, was all set to remove the new incumbent Rajapaksha, when parliament reconvened on Nov 14, after gaining coalition of 15 legislators representing the country’s ethnic Tamil minority. All those plans now stand crumbled.