Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved the Parliament and announced a snap election on January 5, 2019, after having sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replace him with former controversial President and Opposition leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The dissolve came after his coalition admitted that it could not muster enough parliamentary support for PM Ranil.
In an official gazette notification, the President said that the dissolution of the currently suspended parliament will take effect at midnight, and a new legislature will be summoned to meet on January 17.
Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) swiftly denounced the move via Twitter, saying it “vehemently rejects” the sacking of the parliament.
The party also accused Sirisena of robbing the “people of their rights and democracy”. The party has said that the president has the authority to appoint the prime minister, but does not have the power to sack the incumbent. It has demanded a parliamentary vote to prove Wickremesinghe’s majority.
PM Ranil has not ventured out of his residence ever since his sacking on October 26.
Dayasiri Jayasekara, a cabinet minister, said that Sirisena had no choice but to dissolve parliament because of Wickremesinghe’s refusal to step down, Al Jazeera reported.
The president was acting well within his constitutional rights in dismissing the parliament, he said. “The best thing to do now is go for an election. This is what the people also want.”
Rajapaksa, in a Twitter post, welcomed the move and said that a “general election will truly establish the will of the people and make way for a stable country”.