News Alerts

12 Nov 2018 | 11:14 AM UTC

Sri Lanka: Parliament dissolved, snap elections called for January 5 /update 9

Sri Lanka News Alert

The political crisis in Sri Lanka deepens as the parliament is dissolved and snap parliamentary elections scheduled for January 5; protests expected to continue

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/12/2018, 12:00 AM until 1/6/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Colombo). COUNTRY/REGION Sri Lanka

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Event

President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved the country's parliament on November 9 and called for snap parliamentary elections to take place on January 5, 2019. The president justified the dissolution by stating fears of widespread violence if the parliament were to reconvene as initially planned on November 14. Several opposition parties have petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the dissolution illegal; the case is expected to be heard on Monday, November 12.

Well attended protests continue to take place on a daily basis in the capital Colombo and throughout other urban centers. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all demonstrations and gatherings. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.

Context

The political crisis was prompted by the dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his cabinet after President Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party left the majority coalition on October 26. The move, viewed by the opposition as unconstitutional, led to the suspension, and later dissolution, of the parliament. President Sirisena has appointed former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as interim prime minister, a move that Wickremesinghe declared illegal.

Critics claim Sirisena dissolved the parliament due to fears that his party would not secure the majority needed to confirm Rajapaksa as prime minister.

Advice

Individuals in Sri Lanka, particularly Colombo, are advised to keep abreast of the domestic political climate, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, refrain from discussing political subjects in public, and to avoid all protests due to the risk of violence.

 

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