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Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena Sacks Prime Minister, Appointing “Strongman” Mahinda Rajapaksa

postedOctober 27, 2018 13:34:13 Photo:Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has spoken the country's prime minister and his cabinet and replaced…

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October 27, 2018 13:34:13

Sri Lanka’s President, President of Sri Lanka, began in 2005. (AP: Eranga Jayawardena) “which created what some observers said may be a constitutional crisis in the South Asian island nation.

Highlights

  • Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the new prime minister on a television network loyal to PM
  • ] Experts say a constitutional amendment makes it unclear whether Wickremesinghe or Rajapaksa is entitled to prime minister
  • Observers believe that Rajapax’s return to power could see the country slide back to a time of political violence

Outgoing Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, told reporters on Friday that he did not intend to leave his post.

“I have the majority, I will serve as prime minister. I will remain as prime minister,” he said.

Sirisena informed Wickremesinghe that he would be replaced by his former nemesis, Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to aide Mahinda Amaraweera.

Amaraweera, a politician from Rajapaksa Party, said that Rajapaksa had a majority needed in the parliament for 225 people to take over.

But experts say that a new constitutional change makes it unclear.

Constitutional lawyers, political activists and pundits have discussed social media and Sri Lanka’s television about Wickremesing’s exits were legitimate.

The constitution states that a president has the right to appoint someone whom they believe has a majority in parliament.

But the 1

9th amendment, added in 2015, says that a prime minister can only be removed when he ceases to be a Member of Parliament – for example, failing to meet

“Currently there is a constitutional crisis – two people claiming to be prime minister,” said Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the Non-Party National Peace Council in Sri Lanka.

“What the president is about to do now is to call Parliament and vote. It’s the democratic way to solve this crisis,” Perera said.

Rajapaksa could come back in violent times

Rajapaksa ruled Sri Lanka as president for nine years, starting in 2005, accumulating tremendous power and popularity among the country’s majority ethnic singales after monitoring the military’s defeat of ethnic Tamil rebels in 2009 and ended a 25-year civil war.

Some followers celebrated him as a king and savior.

But he was also criticized for not allowing an investigation of allegations of war crimes by the military.

During his government, dozens of journalists were killed, abducted and tortured and some escaped from the country fearing their lives.

He lost a bid for re-election in 2015 among the assembly of allegations of corruption and nepotism.

His return to power as prime minister could signal that Sri Lanka slips back to an era of violence against political opponents, critics and journalists, observers said.

Appointment “unconstitutional and illegal”

Members of Wickremesinghes government called on Friday moved a bargain.

“The appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa to the prime minister is unconstitutional and illegal. This is an unemocratic coup,” Mangala Samaraweera, Finance Minister of the Outgoing Government, said on Facebook.

A private television network loyal to Rajapaksa, televised that he was swearing in as the new prime minister.

Rajapaksa then visited a Buddhist temple in Colombo – a typical rite of passage for new leaders to receive religious blessings.

Some 200 followers, some with photographs of him, gathered outside Rajapaca’s home to congratulate him.

One of them, Amal Prasanna, said the flight was “totally unexpected” but he was happy. Rajapaksa had returned.

“We expect an economic development and a good future for our children,” he said. Traditionally, Sirisia’s Sri Lanka Liberation Party has undertaken from left to center and opposed economic liberalization, while Wickremesing’s UN party is right and has defended reforms to open Sri Lankan’s economy.

His government also promised justice for those accused of committing cruelties in Sri Lankan civil war under the Rajapaks regime.

Wickremesinghe had survived a parliamentary parliamentary process in April, led by the supporters of Rajapaksa. The main accusation against Wickremesinghe involved his appointment of a singaporean as the central bank chief who is now accused of leaking inside information to benefit his son in a government bond sales.

AP

Subjects:

world policy,

government and politics,

Sri Lanka

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