Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe was reportedly removed from office by President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday, October 26, after the president’s United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) party withdrew from the current coalition government. According to a presidential aid, Wickramasinghe has been replaced by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Members of the outgoing government have denounced the decision, claiming that it is unconstitutional and undemocratic and that the president does not have the power to remove the prime minister. As of Friday evening (local time) it is unclear if Wickramasinghe remains in office. Associated political demonstrations are possible in the coming hours and days, particularly in Colombo.
In recent months President Sirisena has attempted to reduce the powers of Wickramasinghe by limiting his control over the central bank, the policy-making National Operations Room, and several other institutions. A no-confidence vote supported by Rajapaksa was unsuccessful in April 2018, causing tensions to rise between the UPFA and Wickramasinghe’s United National Party (UNP).
Individuals present in Sri Lanka are advised to keep abreast of the domestic political climate and to avoid all protests due to the risk of violence.
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