Published: Tue, December 04, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Sri Lanka court puts PM's position on hold

Sri Lanka court puts PM's position on hold

A Sri Lankan court on Monday issued an order preventing Mahinda Rajapaksa from as acting as prime minister and holding cabinet meetings, the latest twist to a political drama gripping the South Asian country.

The decision by the Court of Appeal on Monday is the latest setback to Sirisena and Rajapakse, whose attempt to take power almost two years ahead of the next elections plunged Sri Lanka into crisis.

In a statement emailed on Tuesday evening, Rajapaksa said he did not accept the appeal court's ruling and would take the matter to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said 29 October that his controversial sacking has left Sri Lanka in a power vacuum and demanded that parliament be allowed to end a standoff with the president.

The order was issued in a Quo Warranto case filed by 122 MPs against Rajapaksa and his Government.

According to leading lawyer, J.C.Weliamuna, the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena must now appoint a new Prime Minister and a new Council of Ministers.

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Sirisena later dissolved Parliament, nearly 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered snap election.

As of now, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who enjoys majority support in Parliament is the obvious choice for the Premiership. The Supreme Court overturned Sirisena's decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls. The Tamil National Alliance which hold 14 seats have said they will not support an impeachment.

A majority of legislators asked the court last week to intervene, saying Rajapakse remained in office despite parliament passing motions against him.

Rajapaksa is seen as a hero by many among Sri Lanka's Buddhist majority for ending a bloody war with Tamil rebels in 2009, but has been accused by diplomats and global rights groups of human rights abuses, which he denies.

In fact, President Sirisena had said a couple of times that he will never appoint Wickremesinghe.

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