The Sri Lankan political crisis explained

The political crisis in Sri Lanka has become a cause of worry for many countries. US and European Union are closely watching the developments in the Island nation. In an unprecedented move in the history of this small nation, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sacked and replaced with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a controversial former president. The sacked  Prime minister Mr Wickramasinghe helped the president triumph in the 2015 poll, but the pair reportedly clashed in cabinet recently over government plans to lease a port to India. Both men, however, are claiming the post of prime minister, and Wickremesinghe is holed up in the official residence, refusing to step down.

President Mathripala Sirisena announced the dissolution of the already suspended parliament and called fresh elections on January 5 on which United National Party appealed to the Supreme Court.

However, the Supreme Court overturned that decree until it had heard petitions challenging the move as unconstitutional and gave a go ahead with no confidence motion in parliament. Sri Lanka’s parliament passed a no-confidence motion against newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government on Wednesday, throwing the country deeper into crisis with 122 backing in the house of 225 members. The result does not automatically mean that Wickremesinghe, whose United National Party (UNP) is the biggest in parliament, has won the constitutional showdown. The Speaker announced over his public address system “I rule that this House does not have confidence in the government (of Rajapaksa).”

After the no confidence motion, a political vacuum has emerged in the country. President Maithripala Sirisena in a letter to the Speaker said “he cannot accept the no-confidence vote as the Speaker appeared to have ignored the constitution, parliamentary procedure and traditions”.

In 2015, President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena had defeated former president Mahinda Rajapaksha to end the long reign of strongman’s politics. Mr Rajapaksa ended the civil war in 2009, but faced criticism for the means by which he achieved victory – many thousands of Tamil civilians are thought to have been killed by government forces in the final months of the fighting. Rajapaksa’s reign had also seen an influx of Chinese investment in Sri Lanka. Between 2005 and 2014, Beijing’s investments and financial support was taken largely to sustain the developments in the Srilanka. China has landed the support for the appointment of Rajapaksa while International community is closely eyeing the situation.

In the latest developments Sri Lankan parliament’s descent into chaos with MPs swinging punches and throwing projectiles a day after legislators voted the prime minister out of office.  This situation has led to a political turmoil and it would be interesting to see who emerges victorious in this tussle. India has distanced itself from the situation and adopted an approach of wait and watch. Perhaps, it would be wise for India to remain silent on the issue as Tamilian people already posed their discontent for the Rajapaksha government.

Author is a digital marketing consultant and editor of Smartechtoday & Srjnews. Read, share and discuss current & technology news from around the globe.