Curtains draw on the 8th Parliament

November 10, 2018

President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved Parliament effective midnight yesterday.

The Extraordinary Gazette containing the proclamation to dissolve Parliament was published by the Government Printer at midnight.

The new Parliament is slated to meet on the 17th of January 2019.

According to the Extraordinary Gazette notification issued by the President, the next General Election will be worked off on the 5th of January 2019 while nominations for the Parliamentary Elections will be accepted from the 19th of November to the 26th of November.

The dissolution of Parliament follows an intense power struggle during the past two weeks after Mahinda Rajapaksa was controversially appointed Prime Minister on the 26th of October, after the United People’s Freedom Alliance claimed it was withdrawing from the coalition government on the same day.

The President then suspended Parliament until the 16th of November in a move which Leader of the United National Party Ranil Wickremesinghe said was intended to prevent him from contesting the decision before the legislature.

Following pressure exerted by several factions including political parties, civil organisations, the international community and the public President Sirisena agreed to reconvene Parliament on the 14th of November.

During this period several sporadic Cabinet appointments also took place over the past few days.

Meanwhile, Independent legal experts informed NewsRadio that Parliament could be dissolved only after the completion of four-and-half-years, from the 2015 August 17th General Election.

According to the experts Parliament however can be dissolved through a motion with the consent of two thirds of Members of Parliament.

The President’s legal team, on the other hand, has invoked Article 33(2)C, which lists the powers to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament, in addition to existing powers.

However, critics observe that while the article is a general enumeration of his powers, the specific provision in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution must prevail.