The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday, December 13, that President Maithripala Sirisena's order to dissolve Parliament and hold new elections was unconstitutional. On Wednesday, December 12, former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who was forced out by Sirisena in October, won the support of 117 members in the 225-member Parliament to take office as prime minister. Additionally, unconfirmed reports indicate current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa intends to step down on December 15, although it is unclear if he will do so. The political crisis has prompted violent demonstrations since October and further protests are expected in the coming weeks; a heightened security presence is anticipated in the capital Colombo.
The political crisis was prompted by the dismissal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his cabinet after President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party left the majority coalition on October 26. The move led to the suspension, and later dissolution on November 9, of the parliament. President Sirisena had appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as interim prime minister, in a move seen as an attempt to thwart Wickremesinghe's reforms and corruption investigations.
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 avoid all protests due to the risk of violence.
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