Maithripala Sirisena suspends Parliament

MP and son of Mr. Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa termed the current arrangement “a caretaker government” that would hold charge until “early” national elections. Claiming that their side had a comfortable majority, he said, “We want to first stabilise the economic and political situation”. Asked why the parliament was prorogued if they were confident of a majority, he told The Hindu, “Showing strength is only one part of it. We want to use the time to lay out our policy and strategy.” Tamil concerns In addition to the southern polity, Sri Lanka’s northern Tamil leaders are closely watching the heightening disarray. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) veteran and Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan pointed to “two primary concerns”. “We are motivated by the desire to see the enactment of a new Constitution and the fulfilment of Sri Lanka’s commitments pertaining to the UN Human Rights Council resolution,” he told The Hindu , adding: “We are not concerned about individuals; we are concerned about their principles.” Political scientist and commentator Jayadeva Uyangoda described the events over the past two days as a considered and well-planned “surgical operation.” “As per our Constitution, the President has no authority to dismiss the PM. There is a total lack of clarity on the constitutionality of the move,” he said. If the “partial regime change” is not managed carefully, it might escalate into an extra-parliamentary power struggle, he said. Differences between Mr. Sirisena and Mr. Wickremesinghe have been steadily escalating since April this year, when the President backed a no-confidence vote against his hand-picked prime minister. While Mr. Wickremesinghe comfortably defeated the motion, his relationship with the President soured rapidly therafter, evident in the heated exchange reported from last week’s cabinet meeting. The EU, U.K. and U.S. meanwhile have called for the Constitution and due process to be followed. Mr. Wickremesinghe met Colombo-based diplomats on Saturday evening. He is believed to have spoken of the need to uphold democracy and respect the Constitution.

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