Sri Lanka's disputed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns

Charlene Craig
December 15, 2018

Ending the power tussle in Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial move, resigned on Saturday and Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to take oath as the island nation's Premier on Sunday.

The controversially appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today has made a decision to resign from his post following the Supreme Court's refusal to stay an Appeal Court interim injunction against him and his cabinet from functioning as a government.

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

Sirisena dissolved parliament on November 9, when he was forced to concede that his and Rajapaksa's party, the United People's Freedom Alliance, did not have a majority in the 225-seat parliament.

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The pro-Rajapaksa lawmaker, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, said Friday that Rajapaksa decided in a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena to resign to allow the president to appoint a new government.

Sri Lanka has had no functioning government for almost two weeks and is facing the prospect of being unable to pass a budget for next year.

Rajapaksa's son, Namal Rajapaksa, who is also a member of parliament, confirmed that the prime minister will step down along with his cabinet.

Sri Lanka's Ranil Wickremesinghe to be appointed as Prime Minister again Fri, Dec 14, 2018, 09:11 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

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The court had refused to grant a stay order against the Appeals Court interim order, however granted leave to proceed with the hearing of the petition in January.

"If the stalemate continued, we would have ended up without a budget for 2019 and the government would not have been able to function", Abeywardena said.

A seven-judge bench unanimously agreed that Sirisena violated the constitution when he dissolved parliament last month to prevent Rajapaksa suffering a humiliating defeat on the floor of the House.

The apex court asked all parties to provide written submissions within three weeks. Sirisena then dissolved Parliament and called snap elections on January 5.

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