Sri Lanka’s prime minister to step down seven weeks after appointment

Clay Curtis
December 15, 2018

"To ensure stability of the nation, former president ...(Rajapakse) has made a decision to resign from the premiership tomorrow after an address to the nation", his legislator son Namal said.

The President removed Ranil Wickremesinghe from the post of Prime Minister on October 26th and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister plunging the country into an unprecedented crisis.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) with former president, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and others will "now work to form a broader political coalition with President Sirisena", Namal Rajapaksa, a lawmaker, added.

The Supreme Court decided that a Court of Appeal order issued against the appointment of Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and against his Cabinet from holding office will stand.

The top court's Friday ruling came a day after it unanimously declared that the dissolution of Parliament by President Sirisena was "illegal".

The President had a meeting with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (13th) and has reportedly agreed at the meeting to reinstate Wickremesinghe as the prime minister.

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On Thursday, the Supreme Court said Mr Sirisena had acted illegally in November by dissolving parliament and calling snap polls with almost two years to go until elections were due. The petitioners stated that on November 14, 2018, Parliament passed a vote of No-Confidence against the purported government of the Respondents.

Political sources said Sirisena was likely to invite Wickremesinghe to form a new government over the weekend and end the power vacuum.

Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) said that it was decided during the discussion that he will take oath as the Prime Minister at 10 am on Sunday.

However the relationship between president and prime minister turned sour and Mr Sirisena in October turned on Mr Wickremesinghe, sacking him in favour of Mr Rajapaksa, his old ally-turned-rival-turned-ally.

Accordingly, the three-judge bench rejected the motion filed by the lawyers of former Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint a full bench and made a decision to consider the Appeal today.

Sirisena has repeatedly rejected appeals to reappoint Wickremesinghe as prime minister, but may now be compelled to do so since Wickremesinghe has the support of 117 lawmakers in Parliament.

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