Foreign envoys to be at the Supreme Court on Monday

In the backdrop of the sudden unconstitutional dissolution of parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena, it is reported that foreign envoys in Colombo are planning to visit the Supreme Court on Monday (12), diplomatic sources say.

The United National Party (UNP), Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) as well as other allied parties of the United National Front, have all decided to challenge Sirisena's unconstitutional dissolution by filing a petition at the Supreme Court on the 12th of November.

Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday night (09), only five days before it was due to be reconvened, amidst the real possibility of losing a vote of no confidence. He has also called a general election for January 5.

The president triggered an intense power struggle when he sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa, a pro-China strongman ousted by Sirisena in 2015, in his place.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed grave concern over President Sirisena’s decision to dissolve the nation’s Parliament, underlining the “utmost importance” of respecting democratic processes and resolving differences in accordance with the rule of law.

Furthermore, The United States yesterday called on the president to “respect his country's democratic tradition and the rule of law and to fulfil the commitments to good governance and democracy upon which he and his government were elected.”

The European Union warned Sri Lanka that the prevailing political crisis could further delay and damage the island’s international reputation and deter investors.

“We consider it essential that Parliament be allowed to demonstrate its confidence by voting immediately when reconvened, in order to resolve the serious uncertainties currently facing the country,” the EU said.

Canada’s foreign policy twitter feed said that it was “deeply concerned” about the decision and referred to the risks to reconciliation work after the nation’s civil war.

Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne expressed both concern and disappointment in a statement, saying the move “undermines Sri Lanka‘s long democratic tradition and poses a risk to its stability and prosperity.”

Independent legal experts stress that parliament can only be dissolved in early 2020, which would be four-and-half-years from the first sitting of the current parliament. The only other legal way would be through a referendum, or with the consent of two-thirds of legislators.

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