Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Sri Lankan Parliament dissolved; General Election on Jan 5

Sri Lankan Parliament dissolved; General Election on Jan 5

The former Prime Minister-led United National Party (UNP) says the dissolution of Parliament by the President Maithripala Sirisena today almost two years before its term expires is illegal and against the constitution.

The 225-seat parliament will end at midnight Friday and a new one will meet January 17 after a vote January 5, according to a presidential announcement.

On Sunday, the president called for parliament to reconvene November 14 amid increasing worldwide pressure to resolve the crisis.

The leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP), which regards the sacking of Wickremesinghe as unconstitutional, accused Sirisena of trying to consolidate his power grab.

It was not immediately clear how Sirisena can legally dissolve parliament, though his legal experts have said there are provisions for him to do so.

Prior to the dissolution, a spokesperson of the United People's Freedom Alliance, of which Sirisena is the head, told reporters that they have the support of "104 or 105 MPs", but said that they would show a majority of 113 or more on the floor of parliament.

"This is a gross violation of the constitution", Harsha De Silva, a lawmaker in Wickremesinghe's party, told Reuters in reference to the dissolution of parliament.

"The US is deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka parliament will be dissolved, further deepening the political crisis", the US State Department said in a statement on Twitter.

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"This dissolution by the President is illegal and goes against the constitution".

"Unfortunately, we fear that recent actions, if not corrected, will threaten your country's democratic development and derail the progress made in recent years", said the letter to Sirisena.

A minister, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the official notification would take effect at midnight on Friday. Sirisena said he had to fire Wickremesinghe for mismanaging the economy and because of a Cabinet minister's alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate Sirisena.

Wickremesinghe has refused to vacate the official prime minister's residence saying he is the prime minister and had a parliamentary majority.

Sri Lanka President dissolves parliament, general elections on January 5 Sat, Nov 10, 2018, 01:01 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

The EU said on Friday, before the dissolution, that the crisis had scarred the Indian Ocean island's worldwide reputation.

The power struggle on the island of 21 million people has paralysed much of the administration, according to legislators on both sides of the dispute.

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