Sri Lanka has been reeling from a turbulent political crisis for almost a month, when President Maithripala Sirisena on October 26 abruptly sacked then-Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed the now-ousted Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s former President, as the new premier. The power struggle has left the Sri Lankan democratic system in tatters, with massive protests being held by the United National Party (UNP), where its members and supporters of Wickremesinghe have repeatedly called President Sirisena’s move as “unconstitutional”.
Fighting broke out among lawmakers in Sri Lanka’s parliament after weeks of political turmoil over who should lead the country. MPs rushed on to the floor of the house, a day after a motion of no-confidence was passed over the controversially-appointed new prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Sirisena then called for a snap election to be held on January 5. Amidst the political chaos, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court stepped in and suspended Sirisena’s order to dissolve the island nation’s Parliament and call a snap general election. The court will hear more arguments and would deliver a verdict in December.
The political turmoil in Sri Lanka turned topsy-turvy, when Rajapaksa, was defeated in the Parliament during a `No-Confidence’ motion on November 15. The No-Confidence motion against Rajapaksa was passed after 122 members voted against him in the 225-member House. In an unusual turn of events, the Parliament became a virtual war-zone, when the legislators got into fistfights, hurled objects at each other and even tried to attack Speaker Karu Jayasuriya following Rajapaksa’s loss in the trust vote.
The political parties are now waiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict in December to see if the House will be dissolved and elections will be announced or whether the Wickremesinghe-led government will continue in office. Many countries, including India and the United States, are closely watching the developments in the island nation, and have called on the Sirisena government to act as per the Constitution and refrain from committing violence and to restore democracy.
Source: The Livemint
Geographical Facts of Sri Lanka:
- Population: 21,324,791 (July 2009 estimate),
- Capital: Colombo,
- Legislative Capital: Sri Jayawardanapura-Kotte,
- Area: 25,332 square miles (65,610 sq km),
- Coastline: 833 miles (1,340 km),
- Highest Point: Mount Pidurutalagala at 8,281 feet (2,524 m).