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Sri Lanka president deaf to critics, say observers

Published on Jan 16, 2013 3:43 PM
In this handout photo released by the Sri Lankan Presidents Media office on Tuesday, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse (left) wathces Mr Mohan Peiris sign a letter of appointment as the replacement for the impeached chief justice in Colombo. Sri Lanka's president appointed the government's senior legal adviser as a replacement for the impeached chief justice, Ms Shirani Bandaranayake, despite protests by lawyers and a chorus of international criticism.  -- PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO (AFP) - His sacking of Sri Lanka's chief justice may have prompted new international condemnation, but analysts say President Mahinda Rajapakse is not merely impervious to foreign criticism - he thrives off it.

Already cold-shouldered by the West after the bloody end to an ethnic conflict, Mr Rajapakse drew further flak this weekend by sealing the impeachment of Ms Shirani Bandaranayake and then installing a government adviser in her place as the country's most senior judge.

The US State Department said the impeachment "raises serious questions about the separation of powers in Sri Lanka, which is a fundamental tenet of a healthy democracy".

The Commonwealth, the European Union and former colonial power Britain have also weighed in against Colombo.

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