Sri Lanka court denies Rajapakse authority to act as PM

Cheryl Sanders
December 5, 2018

The President suspended Parliament and later called for fresh general elections, a move that was stalled by Sri Lanka's Supreme Court.

The court issued its order on Monday (Dec 3) after 122 members of Sri Lanka's Parliament, who are allied with ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, filed a legal action on Nov 23 challenging Mr Rajapaksa's authority as prime minister.

A majority of legislators asked the Court of Appeal last week to intervene, saying Rajapakse should not have remained in office after parliament passed motions against him.

The President added that not only he, but the UNP itself also had to face the adverse consequences of Wickremesinghe's policies and under those circumstances the only solution was to remove the UNP leader from the Prime Minister post. "The Court of Appeal has protected parliamentary democracy from an illegal government".

A spokesman for Sirisena, Dharmasri Ekanayake, said he was unaware of any such plans.

But the president acknowledged that he was left without a government following the sudden court ruling.

Foreign countries have yet to recognise the new government.

The impasse has pushed the island's currency to record lows, caused turmoil on its stock and bond markets and raised fears it may not be able to service debts to finance reconstruction following a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.

Rajapaksa is seen as a hero by many among Sri Lanka's Buddhist majority for ending a bloody war with Tamil rebels in 2009, but has been accused by diplomats and global rights groups of human rights abuses, which he denies.

Speaking further, president Sirisena said that Ranil Wickremesinghe destroyed the country, Good governance and the UNP. In the votes, 103 legislators voted in favor of Rajapaksa.

The decision by the Court of Appeal on Monday is the latest setback to Sirisena and Rajapakse, whose attempt to take power almost two years ahead of the next elections plunged Sri Lanka into crisis.

Rajapakse loyalists have since boycotted the legislature, accusing the speaker of bias.

Other reports by iNewsToday