Sri Lanka’s Parliament reassembles with the same Prime Minister but the political crisis might not be over just yet

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Sri Lanka’s Parliament reassembles with the same Prime Minister but the political crisis might not be over just yet


  • On 18 December, Sri Lanka’s Parliament reassembled with Ranil Wickremesinghe reinstated as the country’s Prime Minister.
  • This was a few days after the country’s apex court declared that President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to disband Parliament on 9 November wasn’t constitutionally valid.
  • However, it could be a while before things go back to normal as the President has said he won’t be able to work alongside Wickremesinghe.
  • Until the next round of general elections in 2020, it seems Sirisena and the former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will do what they can to hinder the current government’s policies.
In a clear win for democratic ideals, On 18 December Sri Lanka’s Parliament reassembled with Ranil Wickremesinghe reinstated as the country’s Prime Minister. This was a few days after the country’s apex court declared that President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to disband Parliament on 9 November wasn’t constitutionally valid.

At the end of October, Sirisena unceremoniously booted out Wickremesinghe from his post and reinstated the former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place. In the ensuing two months, Rajapaksa installed a proxy government and took questionable decisions on behalf of the government while Wickremesinghe contested his dismissal and subsequently, proved a majority in Parliament.

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In addition to physical altercations between MPs in the legislature, the crisis spilled out into the streets as well, as demonstrations and riots became commonplace in Colombo, the city’s capital. The Supreme Court’s order compelled Sirisena to end the crisis and Rajapaksa to step down.

With the reconvening of Parliament and Wickremesinghe once again at the helm of the government, it might seem that the country’s political turmoil has concluded for the time being.

However, it could be a while before things go back to normal as the President and Prime Minister will continue to butt heads.

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Wickremesinghe’s party, the United National Party (UNP), took the role of the active governing party while the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SFP), some members of which had earlier pledged support for the UNP, took on the the role of the Opposition.

And the Opposition leader? None other than Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa’s appointment was criticised by some legislators on the grounds that he had switched parties from the the UPFA to the SFP. He had been elected as a UPFA candidate in 2015.

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Until the next round of general elections in 2020, it seems Sirisena and Rajapaksa will do what they can to hinder the UNP’s policies. With a majority but not a two-thirds one, Wickremesinghe won’t be able to impeach the President.

Following the reinstatement of the Prime Minister, Sirisena was quick to point out that he didn’t think the two could work alongside each other, explaining that he dismissed the Prime Minister due to his supposed reluctance to investigate a close friend, the former governor of Sri Lanka’s central bank, over a suspicious bond trade and an alleged crackdown on the temple activities of Buddhist monks.

Wickremesinghe is expected to continue to face pressure from and uncooperative Opposition over various issues, the most important of which relates to the country’s finances and constitutional reforms.

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The island nation is mired in debt as its taken a number of loans from Chinese entities for infrastructure projects. It is reportedly scheduled to complete $5.8 billion worth of debt repayments by November 2019, while it has only $7.2 billion of foreign reserves.


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