State media: Sri Lanka president dissolves Parliament

Mahinda Rajapaksa Short Of'Magic Number To Prove Majority Spokesperson

Mahinda Rajapaksa Short Of'Magic Number To Prove Majority Spokesperson

An official notification signed by Sirisena announced the dissolution of Parliament effective midnight Friday.

Sirisena has said he fired the prime minister because he was trying to implement "a new, extreme liberal political concept by giving more priority for foreign policies and neglecting the local people's sentiment".

"We now have 104 or 105 seats, but we will show a majority of 113 and more on the parliament floor", he told a news conference.

Global concern has grown over the mounting turmoil, with Wickremesinghe refusing to leave the premier's official residence while the president also suspended parliament to head off any revolt against his action.

The UK Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field said that he was concerned by news that Sri Lanka's Parliament has been dissolved days before it was due to be reconvened.

Wickremesinghe has insisted his firing is unconstitutional. Wickramasinghe disputes the president's authority to fire him and has refused to leave the prime ministerial residence.

However, the UNP - whose numbers declined from 106 to 98 amid defections - gained an edge when the Tamil National Alliance, a coalition of 15 legislators representing the country's ethnic Tamil minority, said it would back a motion to oust newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe and another Cabinet member of plotting to assassinate him, a charge Wickremesinghe repeatedly denied.

Wickremesinghe had late Thursday thanked his supporters in a Facebook video for not letting Sri Lanka be "plunged into the darkness of dictatorship".

"Maithripala Sirisena dissolved a parliament where we enjoyed a majority", he said.

Jayasuriya said this week he can't recognize Rajapaksa until he demonstrates a majority in the legislature. "At the end of the day, he is a victim of his own homegrown crisis". The current Parliament was elected in August 2015.

"This is a gross violation of the constitution", Harsha De Silva, a lawmaker in Wickremesinghe's party, told Reuters in reference to the dissolution of parliament.

India and Western countries have requested that Sirisena act in line with the constitution while they have raised concerns over Rajapaksa's close ties with China.

"We will fight the emerging tyranny of Sirisena".

The party vowed to discuss the situation with the country's election commissioner.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament on Friday evening, AFP reported quoting an unidentified minister.

"As a committed partner of Sri Lanka, we believe democratic institutions and processes need to be respected to ensure stability and prosperity", the US State Department said. "We will fight in the courts, we will fight in parliament and we will fight at the polls".

Rajapaksa indicated what was coming hours before the dissolution in a speech.

"He (Sirisena) came to power promising to be a Mandela, but we ended up getting a Mugabe, a mad man", Samaraweera said, referring to Zimbabwe's strongman former president Robert Mugabe.

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