Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Sri Lanka to hold snap election on January 5: Sirisena

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Pablo Mccormick | 10 November, 2018, 07:36

President Maithripala Sirisena has decided that there will be no snap elections or a national referendum to end the current political and constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka, according to his close aide.

The president said the dissolution of the parliament will take effect at midnight, and a new parliament will be summoned to meet on January 17.

Sirisena signed an official notification dismissing the 225-member assembly well ahead of its August 2020 term expiry, state television reported.

Relations between Wickremesinghe and Sirisena became strained this year after their coalition was defeated in local elections by a Rajapaksa-backed party.

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Wickremesinghe, however, claims he is still the legally appointed prime minister. Before signing the order, Sirisena inducted more ministers into the cabinet headed by Rajapakse.

Without specifying the exact figure of the lawmakers supporting Rajapaksa, United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters, "At the moment we have 105 to 106 MPs".

Asked who the UNP Prime Ministerial candidate will be at the election, Ajith Perera said that first the UNP and the public need to challenge the President's decision to dissolve Parliament and the next step will be to discuss the Prime Ministerial candidate of the UNP.

The leader of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Udaya Gammanpila earlier in the day said the President can exercise power vested with him under article 33 (2) c of the constitution to dissolve the Parliament.

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Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena waves to supporters at a rally on November 5, 2018, in Colombo. Several legislators have said they were offered millions of dollars to switch allegiance and at least eight have already jumped to the president's side. However, on November 1, he lifted the suspension after coming under severe criticism.

The EU, in a joint statement with Norway and Switzerland, called for parliament to reconvene and hold an immediate vote.

"You have not let this country be plunged into the darkness of dictatorship". "We will be fighting this to ensure that democracy reigns supreme in the country".

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