Colombo, December 13: Giving major setback to the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the dissolution of the Parliament by the President was ‘unconstitutional’. The Sri Lankan President’s controversial decisions plunged the island nation into an unprecedented constitutional crisis.
In the decision slated by the seven-member Sri Lankan apex court bench said the President cannot dissolve Parliament till it completes a four-and-a-half year term. Authorities beefed up the security around the Supreme Court and deployed the elite special task force in the area.
The decision coming by the Supreme Court laid to rest the many controversial moves which had complicated the political and constitutional crisis emanating from President Sirisena's decision on October 26 to sack the incumbent prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and install former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place. Later, he also dissolved the 225-member Parliament and called for a snap election on January 5.
Prez Sirisena sacked the Parliament when it appeared that former President Rajapaksa would not be able to muster the support of 113 MPs to gain a simple majority. PM Wickremesinghe on the other hand commands a majority in the House.
On Wednesday, PM Wickremesinghe proved his majority in Parliament, with 117 out of 225 lawmakers in Parliament voting to pass a confidence motion in his leadership. Rajapaksa has so far failed to prove his majority in Parliament. President Sirisena has said that he has always taken decisions in the best interest of the country and the people. He had also said that he will honour the court's decision. As many as 13 petitions were filed against Sirisena's November 9 order sacking the Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end.
The apex court's decision has come as a serious blow to Sirisena after he had failed in his attempt to see Rajapaksa gaining majority in the assembly to oust Wickremesinghe. This would mean no snap parliamentary election could be called by Sirisena at least until February 2020.
Prior to the crisis, PM Wickramasinghe's UNP had the backing of 106 parliamentarians while Rajapaksa and Sirisena combine had 95 seats. The President has said that due to sharp personal differences with Wickremesinghe, he would not reappoint him as the Prime Minister. However, Wickremesinghe's party claims that Sirisena will be left with no choice as he would be the man who will command the confidence in the House.