World News

Rajapaksa set to quit as Sri Lanka's premier to end crisis

Rajapaksa set to quit as Sri Lanka's premier to end crisis

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) with the former president, SLFP and others will now work to form a broader political coalition with President Sirisena, said Namal Rajapaksa in a tweet on Friday evening.

The country has been in political crisis since October, when Sirisena abruptly sacked then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Rajapaksa.

Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has stepped down from his post, according to media reports.

The UNP said that it was decided during the discussion that Wickremesinghe will take oaths as Prime Minister on Sunday morning. Rajapaksa was appointed as the premiere on October 26 by the president after sacking Wickremesinghe, plunging the nation into a constitutional crisis. So the former president chose to step down after the court ruling given on Friday and on Thursday.

Rajapaksa informed the lawmakers of United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) that he has resigned from the post, MP Shehan Semasinghe told reporters. The Supreme Court decided that a Court of Appeal order issued against the appointment of Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and against his Cabinet from holding office will stand.

Rajapaksa's son, Namal Rajapaksa, who is also a member of parliament, confirmed that the prime minister will step down along with his cabinet.

This comes after a day after the Sri Lankan Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the dissolution of Parliament by Srisena was illegal.

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The court had refused to grant a stay order against the Appeals Court interim order, however granted leave to proceed with the hearing of the petition in January.

Mahinda Rajapakse gestures during a ceremony before signing a document backing down from his controversial appointment as prime minister in Colombo on December 15, 2018.

"If the stalemate continued, we would have ended up without a budget for 2019 and the government would not have been able to function", Abeywardena said.

The apex court asked all parties to provide written submissions within three weeks.

The decision appears to have been hastened by a Supreme Court decision to extend a lower court's suspension of Rajapaksa and his Cabinet.

Sirisena had also called a snap election almost two years ahead of schedule.


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