Oct 27, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved the cabinet of ministers and suspended the parliament after ousting the Prime Minister of his good governance government Ranil Wickremesinghe and replacing him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Director General of Government Information in a press release issued today informed that the Cabinet of Ministers is dissolved.
The Presidential Secretariat today notified all the Heads of the Government Departments, chairmen of the state corporations, statutory Boards and state Banks that in view of the appointment of a new Prime Minister with effect from 26tn of October 2018 under the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the tenure of the existing Cabinet of Ministers shall stand dissolved.
Deepening the constitutional crisis, the President suspended the parliament until November 16 as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe refused to accept his unconstitutional removal and called for an immediate parliamentary session to prove that he retains the majority of parliament.
"I have the majority in the parliament, convene the parliament to resolve this," Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said at a press conference in Colombo on Saturday after meeting with the leaders of all the coalition parties of the United National Front.
Wickremesinghe in a statement yesterday insisted that he still holds the Prime Minister's office and cited Article 46 (2) of the Sri Lankan Constitution which states that Prime Minister shall continue to hold the office unless he resigns or ceases to be a Member of Parliament. Since neither of the two has happened, he cannot be removed abruptly, he said.
The President has taken immediate measures to take control in dissemination of information and has appointed an Acting Director General of the Government Information Department.
Senior officer of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) and an Acting Additional Secretary to the President, Nalaka Kaluwewa has been appointed as the Acting Director General of the Government Information Department on the orders of President Maithripala Sirisena, the President's Media Division said.
President Sirisena's surprise move has plunged the country into a political crisis with people who supported the election of Sirisena to the presidency and the minority Tamils and Muslims fearing the dark ages under the Rajapaksa regime will return.
Countries across the globe expressed concern over the startling developments in the South Asian nation which regained its lost democracy and international recognition after the Good Governance government came to power in 2015.
The United States, UK, European Union, as well as India and China said they are closely following the developments in Sri Lanka and urged all parties to respect the Constitution and follow the due process.