Sri Lanka's disputed prime minister takes his fight to the Supreme Court

Sri Lanka's prime minister is appealing a court decision that temporarily bars him and his cabinet from carr...

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 11:40 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 11:40 AM

Sri Lanka's prime minister is appealing a court decision that temporarily bars him and his cabinet from carrying out official duties, amid a constitutional crisis that has left the island nation without effective leadership.

The ruling by Sri Lanka's Court of Appeals on Monday comes after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa refused to step down despite losing two no-confidence votes last month.

Asia

Continents and regions

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Political Figures - Intl

Ranil Wickremesinghe

South Asia

Sri Lanka

Law and legal system

Law courts and tribunals

Maithripala Sirisena

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Heads of government

Legislative bodies

Politics

Prime ministers

US federal court system

US federal government

US Supreme Court

Rajapaksa said he will take his appeal to the Supreme Court on Tuesday and seek an order halting the decision. "We do not agree with the decision given by the Appeals Court as Constitutional matters are finally decided by the Supreme Court," Rajapaksa said on Twitter.

Judge Arjuna Obeyesekere said in his ruling that if Rajapaksa and his cabinet continued to hold office, it would cause "irreparable" damage. "Such damage would also have far reaching consequences to the whole country," Obeyesekere said.

Even though the decision would leave the nation without a functioning government, "allowing a set of persons who are not entitled in law to function as the prime minister or the cabinet of ministers or any other minister of government," would do far greater harm, he added.

The ruling restrains Rajapaksa and his 48 ministers from holding office until the court has heard a petition by 122 lawmakers that challenges his claim to power. Rajapaksa and the cabinet members have until December 12 to prove to the court that they have authority to govern.

Constitutional Crisis and counter cases

Sri Lanka has been in crisis since October 26 when President Maithripala Sirisena ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa -- a two-time former President -- to take his place. Sirisena then dissolved parliament and called for snap elections for January 5, a move that was temporarily halted by the country's Supreme Court.

The president and Rajapaksa have refused to recognize two separate motions of no confidence voted by parliament on November 14 and 16.

Parliament is expected to debate another motion of no confidence against Rajapaksa on Wednesday. The motion, which requires the support of 113 out of 225 lawmakers, has been signed by seven members of ousted prime minister Wickremesinghe's United National Front (UNF). The Tamil National Alliance has also declared its 14 lawmakers will support the UNF.

The Supreme Court is now set to begin hearings on the legality of Sirisena's actions, with judges due to meet Tuesday. Sirisena told a UNF delegation on Friday that he would accept parliament's decision but insisted that he would not appoint Wickremesinghe as prime minister.

The political crisis is leaking into the financial markets. On Monday, Fitch Ratings downgraded Sri Lanka to 'B' from 'B+', saying in a report that the "ongoing political upheaval, which has disrupted the normal functioning of parliament, exacerbates the country's external financing risks."

There are also concerns for more violence if the impasse continues. An early flashpoint of the crisis came a day after the dissolution of parliament when the bodyguards of a deposed government minister opened fire on a crowd of protestors, killing one and injuring three others. The shooting occurred as crowds loyal to the President Sirisena attempted to prevent the recently deposed petroleum minister Arjuna Ranatunga, a former Sri Lankan cricket captain, from entering a government building in the capital, Colombo.

Terre Haute
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 84°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 82°
Rockville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Casey
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 88°
Brazil
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 84°
Marshall
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 84°
Hot and humid!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 147865

Reported Deaths: 7026
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook927814630
Lake10007423
DuPage9364475
Kane7877275
Will6957320
Winnebago310996
McHenry212097
St. Clair2037137
Kankakee131165
Rock Island106129
Madison104269
Kendall100021
Champaign96015
Boone61021
DeKalb58220
Peoria56728
Sangamon45532
Jackson34019
Randolph2887
McLean28513
Stephenson2785
Ogle2754
Clinton24217
Macon23622
LaSalle22817
Union19619
Whiteside19615
Coles17817
Grundy1775
Iroquois1645
Tazewell1528
Knox1470
Warren1450
Monroe13713
Cass1367
Williamson1334
Adams1311
Morgan1303
Jefferson10717
Lee1032
McDonough10215
Henry981
Pulaski790
Vermilion792
Marion700
Macoupin583
Perry581
Douglas540
Unassigned530
Livingston522
Montgomery491
Christian474
Jasper477
Jo Daviess471
Ford401
Woodford362
Jersey351
Franklin310
Bureau302
Menard250
Mercer250
Fayette233
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Washington210
Johnson200
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan180
Cumberland170
Bond161
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne141
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Marshall110
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
White80
Lawrence70
Hamilton60
Richland40
Stark40
Gallatin30
Out of IL30
Pike30
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110