Sri Lankan PM Rajapaksa resigns to end crisis

Ranil Wickremesinghe Sacked Months Ago Takes Oath As Sri Lanka's PM

Rajapaksa to resign as Sri Lanka’s prime minister, says lawmaker

Premadasa, who noted that President was appointed to the position with the support of the UNP, told Sirisena that he had no mandate to work with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was defeated in 2015.

His son Namal Rajapaksa, also a lawmaker, said his father would make a statement soon.

Sri Lanka's president reappointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister on Sunday, almost two months after firing him and setting off a long political stalemate in the South Asian island nation.

Addressing the 93rd passing out ceremony of Sri Lanka Military Academy in Diyathalawa today (15) President Sirisena said he is committed to fulfill every task that needs to be done to strengthen the country's democracy and freedom.

However, the new government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa couldn't secure a parliamentary majority and the President later issued a Gazette dissolving Parliament.

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The party praised the president's decision to reappoint Wickremesinghe after former Prime Minister Rajapaksa resigned on Saturday.

On December 13, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka ruled that the President can not dissolve the Parliament till it completes its four-and-a-half year term, thus rejecting the Sirisena's attempts to hold snap elections in early January.

Sirisena suffered a huge setback when the highest court in the country ruled last week that he acted outside the constitution when he sacked parliament in early November. It initially indicated an end to the impasse, but Sirisena's speech is a sign of more acrimony, possibly leading to early parliamentary elections. That was also cancelled by the courts. The apex court on Friday also refused to stay a court order restraining Rajapaksa from holding the office of PM until it fully heard the case next month.

The court rulings also meant that the Indian Ocean nation of 21 million people was effectively without a government and heading for a shutdown raising fears among global credit rating agencies and holders of Sri Lankan bonds.

The swearing-in ceremony was closed to the media and only a few lawmakers from Wickremesinghe's coalition were present, an official in the president's office told Reuters.

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The UNP leader had refused to step down asserting that his sacking was illegal. That issue is now being canvassed before courts.

Mr. Wickremsinghe will be sworn in again to the post of Prime minister tomorrow along with his cabinet.

Sirisena's disputed appointee had pressed ahead, forming a purported government and naming a cabinet even as parliament cut off state funds to his office.

"If the stalemate continued, we would have ended up without a budget for 2019 and the government would not have been able to function", Abeywardena said.

Politicians had already passed a confidence vote in Mr Wickremesinghe while they sought to reinstate him in a bid to defuse a constitutional crisis.

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