Sri Lanka court restrains Rajapaksa from acting as PM

Leroy Wright
December 5, 2018

"We do not agree with the decision given by the Appeals Court as Constitutional matters are finally decided by the Supreme Court", Rajapaksa said on Twitter.

"According to the interim relief, Rajapaksa and his disputed government have been prevented from acting as PM, cabinet and deputy ministers", said a lawyer, who was present at the hearing.

"The damage that will be posed by temporarily restraining a lawful cabinet of ministers from functioning would be ... outweighed by the damage that would be caused by allowing a set of persons who are not entitled in law to function as the prime minister or the cabinet of ministers", judge Preethipadhman Surasena said.

Their power struggle culminated in Mr. Sirisena's dramatic move on October 26, appointing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Premier, in place of incumbent Mr. Wickremesinghe.

The South Asian nation has been in crisis since President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with Mr Rajapaksa in October, then issued an order dissolving parliament and called for a general election. Wickremesinghe says his dismissal is invalid because he still holds a majority in the 225-member Parliament.

"There is a possibility of withdrawing the gazette", said a source in regular discussion with Sirisena, referring to the official announcement by which the president dissolved parliament.

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The president said that he would definitely end the prevailing political crisis within a week.

Prior to the crisis, Wickramasinghe's UNP had the backing of 106 parliamentarians while Rajapaksa and Sirisena combine had 95 seats.

Twice last month, 122 Sri Lankan legislators voted to remove Rajapaksa from the prime minister position, charging that his appointment was unconstitutional.

Wickremesinghe, with the support from the main Tamil party, claims to have the support of more than 113 legislators, required for simple majority.

Mr. Sirisena's snap decision, compounded by his lawmakers' questionable actions in Parliament since, has prolonged the political turmoil for weeks.

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