The government lost a vote of no confidence carried out by the parliament on Wednesday, November 14. The parliament had been dissolved on November 9 by President Maithripala Sirisena but the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court on November 13. At this stage, it remains unclear whether Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose October 26 dismissal by the president prompted the political crisis, will resume his functions; the nomination of prime ministers officially lies with the president. Snap parliamentary elections that the president had called for to take place on January 5, 2019, have also been canceled by the Supreme Court.
Disruptive protests continue to take place as of November 14, when access to the parliament building was blocked by demonstrators. Further protests can be expected to take place until the situation begins to normalize. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all demonstrations and gatherings. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out, though so far protests have been peaceful, if disruptive.
The political crisis was prompted by the dismissal of Prime Minister 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 had appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as interim prime minister, a move that Wickremesinghe, and later the Supreme Court, declared illegal.
Individuals in Sri Lanka, particularly the capital 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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