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Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court stays dissolution of Parliament

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed until December 7 the dissolution of Parliament by the President, granting interim relief to political parties that had urged the apex court to junk Maithripala Sirisena’s decision.

A three judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nalin Perera heard petitions filed by several political parties on Monday and Tuesday challenging Sirisena’s dissolution of Parliament. The case was fixed for argument on December 4, 5 and 6, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Gazette notification convening Parliament on November 14 will stand active, which means Parliament could be convened on Wednesday, according to Colombo Telegraph.

The political turmoil escalated in the island nation when Sirisena dissolved Parliament on Friday and called for a snap parliamentary election on January 5, over two weeks after sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replacing him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sirisena then immediately formed a caretaker government, a move which Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) called illegal. The President’s sudden move to dissolve Parliament came one and a half years ahead of the scheduled parliamentary polls.

Sirisena said his decision to dissolve Parliament and call for a snap election was to avoid violence from erupting on the streets of the country and on the floor of the House.

The parties which filed petitions challenging the President’s move included the UNP, the main opposition Tamil National Alliance, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the Tamil Progressive Alliance and the All Ceylon Makkal Congress. After the Supreme Court’s order, the JVP parliamentarians met Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and urged him to convene Parliament as soon as possible.

Wickremesinghe told his parliamentarians that he was ready to show his parliamentary majority at any time. He also told them to “get ready” to attend Parliament on Wednesday.

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