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Civil society join political parties to mount legal challenge against dissolving of parliament

Sri Lankan civil society organisations joined political parties in mounting a legal challenge to the president's decision last week to dissolve parliament. 

The UNP, TNA, JVP, the TPA and ACMC, as well as the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) have filed petitions at the Supreme Court today.  

Announcing its decision to take legal action, the TNA spokesperson said, the 19th amendment to the constitution makes it ‘crystal clear’ that the president did not have the authority to dissolve parliament before it had passed its four and a half year term. 

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On Friday, the Sri Lankan president announced the dissolution of parliament and a snap election on January 5.

Sirisena’s sacking of UNP prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last month and appointment of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa plunged Sri Lanka into political crisis. 

Observers say the dissolution was announced as Sirisena realised his de facto prime minister Rajapaksa would not command a majority in parliament.

With allegations of massive bribes being floated to tempt crossovers, Sumanthiran, among other commentators, pointed out that the decision to dissolve parliament, knowing it would get struck down in the Supreme Court, was another time-buying tactic to secure more crossovers.