Colombo (PTI): Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday stoutly defended his controversial move to dissolve the parliament, saying it was taken to prevent clashes among rival lawmakers and also blamed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for not accepting his presidential powers. In an address to the nation, Sirisena outlined the reasons for dissolving parliament almost two years ahead of schedule.
Sirisena’s decision was criticised by ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, some political parties and civil society groups as unconstitutional and illegal. The president said there were media reports that politicians would clash during a vote to decide between two men claiming the premiership.
On October 26, Sirisena abruptly sacked Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, after three-and-a-half years of an estranged relationship with him. The island nation plunged into a constitutional crisis following the move. Sirisena had suspended parliamentary proceedings until November 16. Later, owing to domestic and international pressure, he issued a notice to reconvene parliament on November 14.