Sri Lanka president dissolves Parliament, calls for election

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Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena has signed the proclamation to dissolve the Parliament from Friday midnight.

Sirisena signed an official notification dismissing the 225-member assembly with effect from midnight, clearing the way for a snap election almost two years ahead of schedule.

Sri Lanka will hold a snap election in January, the country's president announced late November 9, hours after dissolving parliament when it became clear his prime minister nominee did not have a majority.

Earlier on Friday, United People's Freedom Alliance spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters that Rajapaksa needs at least eight more votes in the 225-member assembly to reach the majority mark of 113.

Ousted Sri Lankan prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has refused to leave the premier's official residence.

"The dissolution clearly indicates that Mr. Sirisena has grossly misjudged and miscalculated the support that he might or could secure to demonstrate support in the Parliament", said Bharath Gopalaswamy, director at USA -based analyst group Atlantic Council's South Asia Center.

The former Prime Minister-led United National Party (UNP) says the dissolution of Parliament by the President Maithripala Sirisena today almost two years before its term expires is illegal and against the constitution.

The president was acting well within his constitutional rights in dismissing the parliament, Jayasekara stressed, adding: "The best thing is do now is go for an election". Maithripala Sirisena said in a proclamation that a new parliament will be convened on January 17 after conducting the nation-wide vote on January 5.

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This is despite several legislators saying they were offered millions of dollars to switch allegiance.

Under pressure from the local as well as worldwide organizations including the United Nations, European Union and Western governments, the President chose to reconvene the parliament on November 14, just two days ahead of the scheduled date.

The deposed leader, who has remained holed up in the prime ministerial residence since his abrupt dismissal on October 26, has demanded a parliamentary vote to prove his majority. Faced with pressure from the United Nations, the U.S. and the EU, Sirisena twice promised to lift the suspension of parliament, but then changed his mind.

"This further political uncertainty is corrosive to Sri Lanka's democratic future and its commitments on reconciliation and accountability", it said.

Wickremesinghe late Thursday thanked his supporters and urged them not to give up in the showdown.

"You have not let this country be plunged into the darkness of dictatorship".

The power struggle on the island of 21 million people has paralysed much of the administration, according to legislators on both sides of the dispute.

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