Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Sri Lanka President says will end the political crisis in seven days

Sri Lankan court bars Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister Sri Lanka court denies Mahinda Rajapakse authority to act as PM, rules Cabinet cannot function until...
Ellis Copeland | 05 December, 2018, 18:34

"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.

Mr. Rajapaksa's lawyers on Tuesday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, against Monday's ruling barring him from serving in the office of the Prime Minister. On Monday evening, the President told lawmakers from Mr. Wickremesinghe's front that he would not restore him in the office of the PM "even if all 225 members of Parliament" backed him.

Observing that President Maithripala Sirisena must not take "subjective decisions" pertaining to the Constitution, Sri Lanka's deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday said: "Don't be like Hitler and other dictators".

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.

Sri Lanka's toppled premier likened the president to Hitler on Tuesday as he demanded to be reinstated, nearly six weeks into a paralysing political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.

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

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.

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

"I am addressing you as the prime minister of Sri Lanka", Wickremesinghe said in October during a public hearing after his removal.

The Tamil MPs last week pledged support to sacked premier Wickremesinghe, further weakening the position of the Sirisena-Rajapakse coalition.

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