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TNA to challenge dissolution of parliament in Supreme Court

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is set to take legal action against the sudden dissolution of parliament by Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena.

The party’s spokesperson and MP, M A Sumanthiran said the party would be going to the Supreme Court to challenge the dissolution.

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, Sumanthiran said.

Sumanthiran said however that the slight time lag it would take to obtain an order from the Supreme Court could prove to be a boon for parties “lurching about without being able to secure a majority in parliament”.

Even the announcement of the dissolution on a Friday was a calculated cynical move, Sumanthiran said, as it would give those parties two extra days before Supreme Court petitions could be filed.

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

Sirisena’s attempted sacking of UNP prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to replace him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa plunged Sri Lanka into political crisis just over two weeks ago.

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.

The UNP has also announced its intention to fight the dissolution in the courts.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Sri Lanka’s foremost Sinhala leftist party, also plans to challenge the dissolution in the Supreme Court, according to Sri Lankan press reports.