US, EU reject dissolution of the parliament of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena's decision to dissolve parliament, which is worsening the already great political crisis, has been criticized by Western powers, including the United States and the European Union.

Sirisena disbanded parliament on Friday evening, only five days before it had to meet again. A new installed cabinet threatened to lose a vote of no confidence. He also called general elections for January 5.

The president caused a power struggle when he fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe late last month and replaced the former leader of the island, Mahinda Rajapaksa, a pro-China strong man, defeated by Sirisena in an election in 2015.

Sirisena's rivals will challenge his decision, which they describe as illegal and unconstitutional, at the Supreme Court.

The American Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said in a tweet that the United States was "deeply concerned by the news that the parliament in Sri Lanka will be dissolved, which will further deepen the political crisis". It was said that democracy must be respected in order to guarantee stability and prosperity.

A spokeswoman for the European Union's chief editor Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the move "threatens to undermine public confidence in the democratic institutions and processes of the country and deepen the political and economic crisis in the country".

Last week, the EU ambassador warned that he might consider depriving Sri Lanka of duty-free access if it withdraws from the rights commitments. The EU is concerned that the return of Rajapaksa could lead to an end to the progress made towards national reconciliation after a war with Tamil separatists of ethnic minorities who have killed tens of thousands, many under the care of president.

Mark Field, the British state secretary for Asia and the Pacific, twittered about his concerns about the dissolution of parliament days before it had to be reopened.

"As a friend of Sri Lanka, the UK calls on all parties to uphold the constitution and respect democratic institutions and processes," Field said.

Canada's Foreign Policy twitter feed said it was "deeply concerned" about the decision and referred to the risks of reconciliation work after the national civil war.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, showed both concern and disappointment in a statement and said that the step "undermines the long democratic tradition of Sri Lanka and poses a risk to its stability and prosperity."

Sirisena has said that he has dismissed Wickremesinghe because the prime minister tried to implement a new, extremely liberal political concept by giving more priority to foreign policy and ignoring the sentiment of the local population & # 39 ;.

Parliament test

Mangala Samaraweera, an ally of Wickremesinghe, said their party expects the court to decide that the dissolution of the parliament is illegal and that there will ultimately be a vote in parliament to test whether there is a majority.

"We will show that we have the majority of parliament and we will show that the dictator-president has dissolved a government with a majority in parliament," he told reporters.

They were supported by the Tamil National Alliance, the main party representing ethnic Tamil groups in parliament, who also said they would beg the Supreme Court against the dissolution of the house.

"This is a clear violation of the constitution, the president can not do this," said M.A. Sumanthiran, a spokesman for the alliance.

India and the West have expressed concern about the close ties of Rajapaksa with China. Beijing loaned Sri Lanka billions of dollars for infrastructure projects when Rajapaksa was president between 2005 and 2015, making the country deeply indebted.

Wickremesinghe refused to evict the official residence of the Prime Minister by saying that he was Prime Minister and had a parliamentary majority.

Before signing the papers in which the parliament was dissolved and the elections were declared, Sirisena appointed allies of him and Rajapaksa to cabinet positions.

One of them said that Sirisena was right to order an election to end the political crisis. Dinesh Gunawardena, a newly appointed minister of urban development, said the president had returned the land to the people.

"It is the right of the people to vote, we have gone before the people, no power can intervene, the mandate of the people is supreme," he said.

Independent legal experts have told Reuters that the parliament can only be dissolved in early 2020, which would be four and a half years from the first meeting of the current parliament. The only other legal way would be through a referendum or with the consent of two thirds of the legislators.

Given these views, it was not immediately clear how Sirisena is on a legally safe basis by dissolving parliament, although his legal experts have said that there are provisions to do so.