Sri Lanka court restrains Rajapaksa from acting as PM

In a statement, Sri Lanka's newly appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said he did not accept the appeal court's ruling and would take the matter to the Supreme Court.
In a statement, Sri Lanka's newly appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said he did not accept the appeal court's ruling and would take the matter to the Supreme Court.PHOTO: REUTERS

COLOMBO (BLOOMBERG) - Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal issued an interim order preventing newly appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government's ministers from exercising powers until it hears a petition challenging their authority.

The court issued its order on Monday (Dec 3) after 122 members of Sri Lanka's Parliament, who are allied with ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, filed a legal action on Nov 23 challenging Mr Rajapaksa's authority as prime minister.

In a statement e-mailed on Monday evening, Mr Rajapaksa said he did not accept the appeal court's ruling and would take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Mr Wickremesinghe was quick to respond on Twitter. The decision was a "triumph of democratic institutions over the whims of individuals", he wrote.

"We stand ready to face elections in a legitimate manner in line with the Constitution."

President Maithripala Sirisena plunged the island nation into political chaos by unexpectedly replacing Mr Wickremesinghe with Mr Rajapaksa in late October. The President suspended Parliament and later called for fresh general elections, a move that was stalled by Sri Lanka's Supreme Court.

Lawmakers opposing Mr Rajapaksa had already voted on Nov 28 to freeze his office's spending - and the salaries of all ministers in his government - in a bid to crimp the new government's ability to implement policies.

 

That was the third straight parliamentary vote to go against the former president, who ruled between 2005 and 2015.