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UNP plans impeachment motion against ‘menace’ Sirisena

Sri Lanka’s United National Party (UNP) is planning to mount legal action against Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and his snap dissolution of Parliament.

Managala Samaraweera, Finance Minister in the ‘fallen’ UNP government, and one time Foreign Minister, described Sirisena as a “menace” to Sri Lanka and its “democratic traditions”.

Speaking to The Hindu, Samaraweera also said the UNP would move an impeachment motion against President Sirisena. It is unclear as to how an impeachment motion could be brought without a sitting parliament.

In the latest episode of Sri Lanka’s political crisis, President Maithripala Sirisena today issued a gazette notification dissolving parliament and sacking all 225 lawmakers. 

The gazette notification states elections will be held on January 5, 2019, almost two years ahead of schedule. 

The crisis kicked off two weeks ago when Sirisena pulled out of the ‘unity’ government - the ruling coalition of Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP - and attempted to sack Prime Minister Wickremesinghe with former Sri Lankan president and notorious human rights abuser Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Although Wickremesinghe has refused to leave the Prime Minister’s official residence and maintained that he was still legally PM and commanded a majority in Parliament, Rajapaksa has been able to consolidate support outside of the legislature, most notably with Sri Lanka’s security apparatus, with the police and armed forces pledging allegiance to him.