Running out of options President Maithripala Sirisena is getting ready to push Sri Lanka to the brink of lawlessness by dissolving Parliament unconstitutionally on Wednesday night Colombo Telegraph learns. If not on Wednesday night, President Sirisena is contemplating dissolution on Thursday the sources claimed.
On Wednesday afternoon Sirisena met with a group of lawyers to discuss his options as political party after political party declined his requests to join the Rajapaksa Government or at least abstain on a Parliament vote of no confidence against Rajapaksa. Some reports also said he had summoned Chief Justice Nalin Perera to discuss the constitutionality of the move. It was not confirmed if Chief Justice answered the summons. The President can refer questions to the Supreme Court on constitutional matters but officially and not by summoning supreme Court justices legal sources told Colombo Telegraph. Sirisena’s lawyers are arguing that while Section 70 of the Constitution (amended by 19th Amendment) explicitly states that Parliament cannot be dissolved by the President until it has completed 4.5 years of its term unless a resolution is moved by a two thirds majority in parliament requesting dissolution that provision is superceded by Article 33 (2) which outlines President’s general functions, including to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament.
Heavy movement was visible at President’s House late evening sources said with senior bureaucrats being summoned for urgent talks. Another option being discussed is a referendum of the people to determine if his actions to appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM were legal.
An increasingly desperate President Maithripala Sirisena had taken over negotiations to build a majority for his illegally appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Colombo Telegraph reliably learns, meeting several Party leaders over the past few days to convince them to support the new Government.
On Wednesday November 7 which was the day Sirisena promised Speaker Karu Jayasuriya he would convene Parliament, before he issued a gazette declaring November 14 as the day, the President met with the Tamil Progressive Alliance led by UNFGG MP Mano Ganesan and the main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Both parties declined his request to abstain from voting. And also told the President that his actions were unconstitutional and illegal. President Sirisena was also informed that the Tamil people of Sri Lanka had voted in 2010 and in 2015 even supporting the former Army Commander who prosecuted the war against the LTTE in 2010 just to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa as president. The Tamil representatives told the President that their people would never support their neutrality in the face of a real threat of Rajapaksa becoming Prime Minister. After SLMC Leader and ACMC Leader Rauff Hakeem and Rishard Bathiudeen have also declined support when invited for talks with President Sirisena over the weekend.
President Sirisena’s body language was bad during the meetings and he looked increasingly worried sources said adding that this might drive him to take desperate and willfully unconstitutional measures in order to break the deadlock and justify his actions on October 26.
This was in the aftermath of a major dressing down by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a meeting with UPFA MPs on Tuesday evening. Rajapaksa blamed S.B. Dissanayake for pushing him into the position without having the requisite numbers to defeat the country’s legal Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament. The Rajapaksas are showing signs of bowing out of negotiations to win MPs for a parliamentary majority Colombo Telegraph learns leaving President Sirisena and his agents to continue with this task.
A relative of UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra was also called about a cabinet posting by an agent of President Sirisena who also threatened to ruin her career.