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Rajapaksa refuses to convene Sri Lanka’s parliament

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has refused a request from opposition leaders to reconvene parliament in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing them of having “a narrow political agenda”.

In response to a letter signed by seven opposition parties, Rajapaksa remained steadfast in his refusal to recall parliament

“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed me to inform you that going by the statement, it is evident that the parties who have signed the statement do not believe in holding elections and instead engage in a narrow political agenda,” read a letter from his secretary.

“It is observed that these parties do not appreciate the immense sacrifices by the government bodies such as Health and other Public Services, Tri-Forces, Police and the private sector to contain and eliminate Covid-19 pandemic,” the letter continued.

Rajapaksa went on to claim that in sending him the letter asking for parliament to be reconvened “the validity of the above dissolution notice is confirmed”.

See the full text of the letter here.

The current president had initially set parliamentary elections for April 25, though they have now been pushed back to June 20, amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Following his triumph in presidential elections last year, his SLPP party looked to capitalise on gains made amongst its Sinhala nationalist vote base.

 

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