Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Sri Lanka's ousted PM likens president to Hitler

Sri Lanka's ousted PM likens president to Hitler

A Sri Lanka court barred former President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday from taking over as prime minister after he rebuffed calls to step down following two votes of no confidence by lawmakers.

The Court of Appeal temporary halted Rajapaksa and his Cabinet from functioning in their positions in response to a case filed by 122 legislators against the disputed government.

He added that the court was of the opinion that "irreparable damage" could be caused if persons not entitled to do so sit as prime minister and cabinet ministers.

Ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said 29 October that his controversial sacking has left Sri Lanka in a power vacuum and demanded that parliament be allowed to end a standoff with the president.

The Supreme Court is set to begin hearing a petition on whether Sirisena's decision to dissolve parliament was constitutional.

The sources said the president may now rescind the order, effectively pre-empting a court ruling that they expect to overturn his decision anyway.

Ranil Wickremesinghe made the comments at the prime minister's official residence, which he has refused to vacate since his dismissal in October.

"The fake prime minister and his purported government have been thrown out of office by the judiciary", Sagala Ratnayake, a member of Wickremesinghe's United National Party, said.

Prior to the crisis, Wickramasinghe's UNP had the backing of 106 parliamentarians while Rajapaksa and Sirisena combine had 95 seats.

A majority of legislators asked the court last week to intervene, saying Rajapakse remained in office despite parliament passing motions against him.

Wickremesinghe, with the support from the main Tamil party, claims to have the support of more than 113 legislators, required for simple majority.

Wickremesinghe - who was unceremoniously dumped by his former ally Sirisena in a late-night power swap - says his sacking was illegal, and parliament supports his stake to lead the country. Sirisena had complained about sharp political differences with Wickremesinghe.

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