Sri Lanka’s main political parties on Monday moved petitions in the country’s Supreme Court challenging President Maithripala Sirisena’s move to dissolve Parliament on November 9, AFP reported. These include the United National Party, the main opposition Tamil National Alliance, and the People’s Liberation Front, which together enjoy an absolute majority in the assembly.
The United National Party is led by deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose ouster by Sirisena last month has led to a political crisis in the island nation. Sirisena had replaced Wickremesinghe with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and had suspended Parliament till November 16 to prevent a vote. Though Sirisena later lifted the suspension and said the Parliament would reconvene on November 14, he dissolved it to call for snap polls on January 5.
The three parties are among 10 groups that have urged the Supreme Court to declare the dissolution of Parliament illegal. “The petitions were accepted this morning and it is up to the chief justice to decide when it will be taken up for hearing,” said an unidentified court official.
The official said many civil society groups and individuals had submitted separate petitions seeking a declaration against Sirisena’s move.
Parliamentary Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Sunday accused Sirisena of “usurping” the rights of legislators and advised them against following “illegal orders”. He said it is the Supreme Court’s prerogative to determine the legality of Sirisena’s actions.
United National Party MP Mangala Samaraweera earlier said that Sirisena “kicked the Constitution in the teeth” when he dissolved Parliament. “We will demonstrate to the public of Sri Lanka our majority,” he said. “Maithripala Sirisena dissolved a Parliament where we enjoyed a majority.”