The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on Tuesday overturned the president’s decision to dissolve parliament and called for a halt in preparations for a snap election on January 5.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament because he lacked the support to install the prime minister of his choice, Mahinda Rajapaksa, after firing the previous one, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Many petitions have been filed against his actions. Included in the petitioners are three political parties that make up an absolute majority of the current parliament: “United National Party (UNP), the main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the leftist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front.”
The president asserts that he dissolved parliament to prevent civil unrest, citing the potential of violence in the house spilling out into the country. The attorney general is arguing on behalf of the state, saying that the dissolution of parliament is well within the constitutional powers of the presidency.
Since the firing of the old prime minister, the country has been in a constitutional crisis. The Chief Justice read out this decision to a packed court, “guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police and commandos.” Upon learning that parliament was to be restored, the crowd settled.