Sri Lanka’s political crisis deepened Friday as President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament and announced snap polls on January 5 after it became evident that he did not have enough support in the House for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed by him under controversial circumstances.
Sirisena signed a gazette notification to dissolve the nation’s parliament with effect from Friday midnight, in another surprise move that comes after two weeks of political and constitutional turmoil.
According to the gazette notice, nominations to contest the snap election would be taken between November 19 and 26. The election will be held January 5 and the new parliament would be convened on January 17.
Sirisena issued a gazette noticing that parliament stands dissolved some 21 months ahead of its schedule in August 2020, amid a worsening constitutional crisis triggered by the surprise sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The dissolution comes hours after a close aide of the President said Sirisena had decided that there will be no snap elections or a national referendum to end the current political and constitutional crises in Sri Lanka. Analysts said dissolution was again unconstitutional in terms of the four and a half year term rule in the 19th amendment.
“We vehemently reject the dissolution of parliament. He has robbed the people of their rights”, Wickremesinghe led United National Party (UNP) said in a statement. Sirisena signed an official notification dismissing the 225-member assembly well ahead of its August 2020 term expiry, state television reported.