Sri Lanka’s top court suspended an order by President Maithripala Sirisena to dissolve the island nation’s parliament and call a snap general election after Ranil Wickremesinghe mounted a legal challenge against his ouster as prime minister. The Supreme Court granted interim relief until Dec. 7, staying the Presidential notice suspending parliament and halting preparations for the poll. The court’s order on Tuesday means that Sri Lanka’s parliament will reconvene on Nov. 14 as earlier decided by the president. He was acting in response to mounting pressure to resolve the political crisis since his surprise dismissal of Wickremesinghe on Oct. 26. “We will be in parliament tomorrow and we will show the majority, that we are the legitimate government in Sri Lanka,” Wickremesinghe told reporters in Colombo following the court’s decision.
Articles about voting issues in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Supporters of Sri Lanka’s sacked prime minister and a top election official on Monday challenged in court the president’s dissolving of parliament, upping the ante in a political crisis that has sparked international alarm. Late on Friday, President Maithripala Sirisena called snap elections and dissolved the legislature, two weeks after sacking the prime minister and installing the divisive Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place. The United States has led a chorus of international concern over events in the Indian Ocean island nation of 21 million people. Three political parties holding an absolute majority in parliament and an election commissioner, one of three officials tasked with conducting polls, on Monday asked the Supreme Court to declare the president’s actions illegal.
Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka’s president, abruptly dissolved parliament on November 9th and called a snap general election. The move capped several weeks of political drama in the Indian Ocean republic as the president has tested—many would say has greatly exceeded—the constitutional limits of his power. The action began on October 26th, when Mr Sirisena abruptly sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe, the elected prime minister and also his ostensible political ally in the ruling coalition. He replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured), a former strongman president whose regime Mr Sirisena had loudly accused of corruption and even of having plotted to kill him. The flip-flopping president also suspended parliament for three weeks to avoid a debate on his actions, and began to swear in new ministers. The suspension of parliament was widely seen as an indication that the new prime minister did not have the support of majority of MPs.
Sri Lanka: Election Losses Test Sri Lanka’s Leader, and the Country’s Direction | The New York Times
Local elections across Sri Lanka on Saturday were supposed to be about small issues, like installing street lighting for some neighborhoods and improving garbage sweeping in others. But the country’s first post-war national government has stagnated, with the governing coalition partners at each other’s throats. Suddenly, the local vote has become a referendum on the national government’s performance. And, to an extent, the results of the elections may signal what direction the island nation takes in its still-fragile transition from decades of a civil war that killed as many as 100,000 people before it ended in 2009.
On Feb.10, Sri Lankans will go to the polls to vote for their local representatives. But the outcome of these village elections will have much wider repercussions as they will ultimately determine if China will play a bigger role in Sri Lanka’s development. The battle for Sri Lanka’s heartlands is being fought out by the country’s twice defeated pro-China former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and the incumbent pro-India coalition government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The Sri Lankan Government is set to move a resolution in Parliament next month to convert the House into a Constitutional Assembly which will initiate the process of drafting a new Constitution and abolishing the executive presidential system. The government has noticed the Parliament of the motion to convert the House into a Constitutional Assembly and it has been placed in the parliamentary order book as upcoming business in the New Year, officials said. The officials said that the Parliament will be transformed into the Constitutional Assembly on January 9 when President Maithripala Sirisena is due to address the House to mark the beginning of his second year in office.
Sri Lanka: Parliamentary elections genuine, ‘well administered’ – European election monitors | Colombo Page
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) that was in the country to monitor the Sri Lanka parliamentary elections held on August 17 said the election was well-administered and genuine although the campaigning was restricted with excessive rules. “The 17 August Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka were well-administered and offered voters a genuine choice from among a broad range of political alternatives, although campaign rules were restrictive,” Chief Observer of the EUEOM) Cristian Preda said during the presentation of the preliminary report at a press conference in Colombo today.
Sri Lanka: Voters Reject Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Election, and Prosecution May Follow | The New York Times
Sri Lankan voters decisively rejected former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback bid, election results showed on Tuesday, leaving this island nation firmly in the hands of officials intent on dismantling most of his policies and completing corruption inquiries that have been closing in on him and his family. “We have lost a good fight,” Mr. Rajapaksa told Agence France-Presse early Tuesday. The election, held peacefully on Monday with high voter turnout, determined the makeup of Sri Lanka’s 225-member Parliament. As expected, Mr. Rajapaksa easily won a seat in the chamber. But his political coalition fell short of winning a majority, which he had said would have earned him the right to be named prime minister, the second-most powerful job in the government. The final results showed that Mr. Rajapaksa’s coalition lost support in every region of the country, including areas long viewed as his political base.
Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa at first conceded defeat but later rowed back, saying instead that he was unlikely to be prime minister, as figures began to come in following parliamentary elections on Monday night. Electoral authorities said the vote was orderly; however there were fears that if Rajapaksa won a mandate to be prime minister it could trigger a prolonged power struggle with the president, Maithripala Sirisena, who has said he will not appoint him regardless of the outcome. Sirisena defeated Rajapaksa to become president in a January 2015 election. “My dream of becoming prime minister has faded away,” Rajapaksa initially told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Monday night. “I am conceding. We have lost a good fight.” But speaking later to the Reuters news agency he was less definite, saying only that he was unlikely to lead the next government.
Voters lined up to vote in a national election Monday that will decide whether former president Mahinda Rajapaksa can stage a comeback and how fast the country moves forward with postwar reconciliation as well as economic and political revamping. Polling stations in the Indian Ocean island nation opened at 7 a.m. for Sri Lankans to choose 225 members of Parliament. Police said voting was going smoothly and there had been no major incidents as of the middle of the day. Around 75,000 police have been dispatched to ensure nothing interfered with the poll. Mr. Rajapaksa is seeking a return to power after he was ousted in presidential elections in January. The new president, Maithripala Sirisena, and his supporters accused Mr. Rajapaksa of abusing his power and building an authoritarian regime controlled by his family, which the former president denies.