No snap election to end political-crisis in Lanka: President's aide
Sri Lanka's 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 the island nation, according to his close aide. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa, the General Secretary of President Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), confirmed the statement while addressing the central committee meeting yesterday night.
Piyadasa was scotching rumors that Sirisena may opt for a snap-poll with a Parliament dissolution, well ahead of its August 2020 term expiry. The island nation plunged into a political crisis after Sirisena sacked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with his former rival Mahinda Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe, however, claims he is still the legally appointed Prime Minister, as he enjoys the majority in Parliament.
Wickremesinghe's request for a floor-test to prove his majority in the House has been turned down and Sirisena has suspended Parliament till November 14, a move believed to allow Rajapaksa muster the 113 seats required in the 225-member House. Wickremesinghe's UNP and its allies have already signed a motion of no-confidence against Rajapaksa, which the rival camp says won't be taken up anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Monday slammed Sirisena's "unconstitutional and undemocratic" actions to sack Wickremesinghe and suspend Parliament, saying he won't recognize Rajapaksa as the new premier unless he wins a floor test. Jayasuriya wants the floor test to take place on November 14.
The international community too criticized Sirisena's move to suspend Parliament, with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's (CPA) executive committee saying it was watching with concern the ongoing situation in Sri Lanka. "The CPA asserts the importance of upholding the rule of law as well as the essential role of the Parliament of Sri Lanka as defined in and protected by its Constitution," it said.
Joining CPA, the European Union in Colombo said yesterday that it was essential that Parliament be allowed to demonstrate its confidence by voting immediately when reconvened in order to resolve the serious uncertainties. "Any further delays could damage Sri Lanka's international reputation," it warned.