Sri Lanka president dissolves parliament in bid to end power struggle

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has faced accusations of homophobia

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has faced accusations of homophobia

President Maithripala Sirisena has decided that there will be no snap elections or a national referendum to end the current political and constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka, according to his close aide.

"The dissolution clearly indicates that Mr. Sirisena has grossly misjudged and miscalculated the support that he might or could secure to demonstrate support in the Parliament", said Bharath Gopalaswamy, director at New Delhi-based analyst group Atlantic Council's South Asia Center.

Sirisena signed an official notification dismissing the 225-member assembly with effect from midnight, clearing the way for a snap election almost two years ahead of schedule.

The leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP), which regards the sacking of Wickremesinghe as unconstitutional, accused Sirisena of trying to consolidate his power grab. He attempted to install Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister. Before signing the order, Sirisena inducted more ministers into the cabinet headed by Rajapakse.

He said the UNP will expect the Elections Commissioner to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court against the illegal actions of the President.

The Agence France-Presse cited an unnamed minister as saying that "the election is likely to be held in early January" rather than the scheduled date in 2020.

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena waves to supporters at a rally on November 5, 2018, in Colombo.

Amid the pressure, Sirisena announced the legislature would be summoned on November 14. The European Union in Colombo on Thursday said that it was essential that parliament be allowed to demonstrate its confidence by voting immediately when reconvened in order to resolve the serious uncertainties now facing the country. Several legislators have said they were offered millions of dollars to switch allegiance and at least eight have already jumped to the president's side. Faced with pressure from the United Nations, the U.S. and the EU, Sirisena twice promised to lift the suspension of parliament, but then changed his mind.

The EU said Friday, before the dissolution, that the crisis had scarred the Indian Ocean island's global reputation.

"You have not let this country be plunged into the darkness of dictatorship".

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