Mahinda Rajapaksa has been stopped by a Sri Lankan court from as acting as prime minister and holding cabinet meetings. Mahinda Rajapaksa has been in a tug of war with Ranil Wickramasinghe, who also claims to be the Sri-Lankan PM.
The Appeal Court began a hearing on a petition on Friday signed by 122 legislators that challenged Rajapaksa’s authority to hold office after he lost two no-confidence votes last month.
“An interim order is granted against the first respondent functioning as the prime minister…also issuing interim order against 30 other respondents functioning in their offices,” judge Preethipadhman Surasena said. Rajapaksa and his cabinet ministers have been asked to appear in court on Dec 12, the judge added.
Former president Rajapaksa, who ruled Sri Lanka for nearly a decade, was unexpectedly defeated by his deputy, Sirisena, in the presidential election in January 2015 with the support from Wickremesinghe’s United National Party.
However, the power-sharing arrangement between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe became increasingly tenuous on several policy matters, mainly on economy and security. The country is witnessing a political stalemate since Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on October 26.
Sirisena later dissolved Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered snap election. The Supreme Court overturned Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls.
Speaker Jayasuriya then ordered a floor test in the 225-member assembly to end the ongoing political crisis, a move which invited the wrath of the government of Rajapaksa. The United National Front led by Wickremesinghe has already moved three motions of no trust against Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa, however, has refused to step down.