Sri Lanka: Parties file petitions challenging Prez Sirisena’s Parliament sacking

Sri Lanka’s main political parties filed petitions challenging President Maithripala Sirisena’s sacking of parliament and asked the Supreme Court to restore the legislature

Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Barcroft Media via Getty Images

NH Web Desk

Sri Lanka's main political parties on Monday, November 12, filed petitions challenging President Maithripala Sirisena's sacking of parliament and asked the Supreme Court to restore the legislature.

Three parties, which together enjoy an absolute majority in the assembly, asked the highest court to also declare Sirisena's October 26 sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe illegal.

Sri Lanka has been gripped by an unprecedented constitutional crisis since Sirisena appointed former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse to replace Wickremesinghe, who insists he is still prime minister.

Sirisena had suspended parliamentary proceedings until November 16. Later, owing to domestic and international pressure, he issued a notice to reconvene parliament on November 14.

President Sirisena announced the dissolution of the suspended parliament and called for fresh elections on January 5, after it became evident that he did not have enough support in the House to prove the premiership of Rajapaksa.

The island nation is plunged into a constitutional crisis following the move.

“It is encouraging that the Speaker has issued a strong statement condemning the unconstitutional actions of the President. Protests taking place all across the island demonstrate the necessity of resolving this crisis by democratic means, within the framework of the Constitution” said Ranil Wickremesinghe in a tweet.

Accusing President Maithripala Sirisena of "usurping" the rights of legislators, Sri Lanka's Parliamentary Speaker Karu Jayasuriya asked public servants not to carry out his "illegal orders".

Jayasuriya also hit back at his critics who suggested that his improper conduct forced Sirisena to dissolve parliament last Friday.

"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," Jayasuriya said.

"I call upon all public servants to refuse to execute any illegal orders they may receive, no matter from whom," he said.

Referring to remarks by Sirisena loyalist Sarath Amunugama, Jayasuriya said, "I lament that the purported foreign minister, a highly regarded politician, has falsely alleged that I intended to prevent the president from delivering the statement of government policy when parliament was set to reconvene on November 14. It is on this imaginary premise that the minister suggests that parliament had to be dissolved.

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