The Sri Lankan Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament on October 26 was illegal, AFP reported. A seven-member bench unanimously gave the verdict, saying that the president’s decision was unconstitutional.

Security was heightened around the Supreme Court and a special task force deployed before the Supreme Court’s order, PTI reported.

The island nation has been in a state of political turmoil since President Maithripala Sirisena ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president. He suspended Parliament to prevent a vote, then lifted the suspension, but dissolved it again in November and called for snap elections on January 5. Rajapaksa’s government lost two trust motions in Parliament.

Around 13 petitions were filed against the president’s order. The petitioners included several political parties, organisations and activists.

On November 13, the Supreme Court had issued an interim order ruling Sirisena’s gazette notification as temporarily illegal and had halted the preparations for snap polls, Sri Lankan website Ada Derana reported.