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Sri Lankan court issues order blocking Rajapaksa from acting as PM

Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal has issued an interim order preventing Mahinda Rajapaksa from functioning as prime minister and holding cabinet meetings. The order is a blow to the former president’s attempt to hold the prime minister’s office and forms the latest twist in Colombo’s political turmoil.

Judge Preethipadhman Surasena said the stay was issued as "irreversible damage could be caused" if Rajapaksa continued to function as Sri Lanka’s prime minister.

“An interim order is granted against the first respondent functioning as the prime minister...also issuing interim order against 30 other respondents functioning in their offices,” the judge said.

“The damage that will be posed by temporarily restraining a lawful cabinet of ministers from functioning would be in all probabilities outweighed by the damage that would be caused by allowing a set of persons who are not entitled in law to function as the prime minister or the cabinet of ministers or any other minister of the government.”

The case was brought before the court by 122 parliamentarians, who have called Rajapaksa’s appointment as prime minister “unconstitutional”. Rajapaksa was president during Sri Lanka’s massive 2009 military offensive, which killed tens of thousands of Tamils.

Speaking on the case before the court, TNA lawmaker told reporters,

"The position of the 122 MPs who filed the case was that Rajapakse had no legitimacy after losing two no-confidence motions".

See more from Reuters here and Al Jazeera here.