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.
Commissioner Ratnajeevan Hoole was among 12 petitioners arguing that Mr Sirisena had violated the constitution.
In the five-page petition, Mr Hoole said the president broke the law in calling the snap elections for January 5 after a string of unconstitutional moves since October 26 when he forced out Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister.
Mr Wickremesinghe’s United National Party, the main opposition Tamil National Alliance and the leftist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, jointly filed the action.