Mahinda Rajapaksa, appointed Prime Minister of Sri Lanka last month, has been barred from taking office by a Colombo court’s order on Monday. The Appeals Court asked that he reappear by December 12 with justification for his taking office since Parliament voted against him twice and announced that no cabinet could function under him if he does not legitimize his rule.
This crisis comes after President Maithripala Sirisena suddenly fired the Prime Minister in late October and replaced him with Rajapaksa, who is a vastly-unpopular leader due to his cooperation in the leasing of a major Sri Lankan port to China for 99 years.
Sri Lanka’s political turmoil does not end here. Last week its Defense Chief Ravindra Wijeguneratne was arrested and charged with war crimes that allegedly occurred during the nation’s civil war. Last month Sirisena also tried to dissolve Parliament, but the Supreme Court blocked him.
“The triumph of democratic institutions over the whims of individuals is the legacy of the good governance agenda,” said ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who opposes Rajapaksa. “We will continue to defend the sovereignty of our citizens and we stand ready to face elections in a legitimate manner in line with the constitution.”
Rajapaksa issued a statement announcing that “[w]e do not agree with the decision given by the Appeals Court as Constitutional matters are finally decided by the Supreme Court. We will be filing an appeal tomorrow.”