12/15/2018, 13.02
SRI LANKA
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Following Rajapaksa’s resignation, Wickremesinghe back as prime minister

by Melani Manel Perera

The returning prime minister is getting ready for tomorrow’s swearing-in ceremony. The political crisis was triggered by the UNP leader’s removal and the appointment of the former strongman. The Supreme Court ruled against President Sirisena’s illegal decision to dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured) has resigned as prime minister of Sri Lanka this morning, following a ceremony at his Colombo's home.

His controversial appointment by President Maithripala Sirisena after the latter sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had plunged Asia’s oldest democracy into a deep political crisis for the past two months.

According to the United National Party (UNP), Wickremesinghe will take the oath of office as prime minister tomorrow at 10 am, taking back the post he held until two months ago. If this happens, Sirisena has already indicated that he intends to resign.

Two days ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the president had acted illegally when he dissolved parliament in November and called an election two years before it was due. A seven-judge bench unanimously agreed that the president had violated the Sri Lanka Constitution.

Urged by lawmakers, various political movements and civil society organisations, a three-member Supreme Court Bench cancelled the presidential decree on 13 November.

During the crisis, Wickremesinghe maintained that he was the legitimate prime minister. The political deadlock resulted in scuffles in parliament and sparked large protests.

For her part, the Catholic Church called for a resolution to the conflict in accordance with the Constitution.

In a statement, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) said that politicians should not focus on “staying in power or getting into power, but serve the people and the development of the country.”

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