Top Sri Lanka Court Rules Against President’s Snap Election Plan

Sri Lanka: president's dissolution of parliament illegal, top court rules

The President had said this during a meeting with members of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) today. Wickremesinghe on Wednesday won the support of 117 members in the 225-member Parliament to function as the prime minister.

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court is set to deliver a much-anticipated verdict Thursday on whether President Maithripala Sirisena's order to dissolve Parliament and calling for fresh elections was legal, moves that set off a political crisis in the Indian Ocean island nation.

The verdict also declared that the notice of dissolution announced in the government gazette was null and void and that the Parliament could not be dissolved until four and half years from the last general elections.

Since then Rajapaksa has been defeated twice in no-confidence motions in Parliament and has had his and his ministers' budgets stripped by majority votes.

Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka project director at the International Crisis Group, told Al Jazeera that Thursday's ruling was a "welcome one" and indicated "the resilience of Sri Lanka's judiciary and its independence from executive control". Sirisena has promised not to reappoint him regardless of analysis that such refusal is against the constitution.

Likewise, the Supreme Court is relied upon to issue a choice this week on whether it was legitimate for Sirisena to break down Parliament.

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Sri Lanka's Supreme Court, however, stayed Sirisena's order to dissolve the parliament. Most lawmakers in parliament, where loyalties frequently shift, have refused to join Rajapaksa's coalition. "We will be meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa at the head and we will decide our next course of action".

The no-confidence votes saw fighting between lawmakers, with Rajapaksa supporters occupying the speaker's chair and throwing books and water mixed with chili powder to try to prevent a vote.

MP Ajith P. Perera said this historic verdict by the Supreme Court has once again proved that the judicial system and law and order of the country still exists and is independent. The partnership ended on October 26 when Sirisena fired Wickremesinghe, triggering the political standoff.Since ousting Wickremesinghe, Sirisena has highlighted the "shortcomings" of the ex-premier in a bid to justify his sacking and dissuade his reinstatement. He also insisted that Sirisena should gracefully accept his mistake and resign from his post since he had broken the trust of the 6.2 million voters of Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa, however, could not muster a majority in parliament, and Sirisena on November 9 dissolved the legislature two years ahead of schedule.

When the pair took office, they amended the constitution to strip powers from the presidency, hoping to limit any future leaders who tried to amass the kind of power Rajapaksa and his family had come to wield over his 10-year presidency. The court also put a hold on plans of conducting snap polls in January.

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