President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena has suspended the parliament of Thursday till the next month in a response to the move amid a deepening power struggle between the president and his unity government’s prime minister.
According to the government decree, “The president stated that the Parliament’s meetings have been suspended “with effect from WEF midnight Thursday under the article 70 of the constitution”.
The move made by the president amid fearing at least sixteen Sirisena loyalists including six cabinet members said they would exit the troubled coalition. The suspension is scheduled to last nearly one month until May 8, 2018.
There is an ongoing problem within the unity government which even got worse after both the rival groups suffered losses during February’s local council elections. Moreover, President Sirisena has reduced the powers of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the recent weeks removing him from the key roles such as control of central bank, National operations room, policy-making, and several other institutions.
However, the Parliament was expected to meet again next Thursday, officials representing President declined to comment on the reason for halting the Parliament. An anonymous government legislator told AFP, “We have been surprised by the decision”.
Sirisena has also appointed acting ministers on the seats of those who quit cabinet just before the announcement of Parliament suspension. The Prime Minister also won a motion of “no confidence” initiated by the joint opposition and backed by Sirisena’s ministers as wrangling escalated between the two leaders.
Sirisena seems to have not accepted Wickremeshighe as a Prime Minister and demanded his resignation in order to appoint a Prime Minister of his own choice.