Sri Lanka president Sirisena prorogues Parliament as constitutional crisis worsens
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena prorogued the parliament with effect from 12 noon on Saturday, a day after he removed Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replaced him with former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“The president has prorogued the parliament,” cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters.
The move comes after Wickremesinghe, who says he remains prime minister, urged the Speaker to convene the parliament on Sunday to prove he still retained his parliamentary majority.
He has said that he can be removed only by parliament where his party enjoys a majority, and also vowed to seek legal action against what he condemned as an unconstitutional move against him.
“I am addressing you as the prime minister of Sri Lanka,” Wickremesinghe told reporters at a nationally televised press conference on Friday night. “I remain as prime minister and I will function as the prime minister.”
President Sirisena’s decision also plunged the island into an unprecedented constitutional crisis with the Speaker saying he was seeking legal advice and would announce Saturday if he recognises Rajapakse as the new prime minister.
Rajapakse is yet to announce the formation of a cabinet -- which under the constitution is automatically dissolved when a prime minister is removed