Ousted Lanka PM's party to fight dissolution of parliament in court

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena

On Sunday, the president called for parliament to reconvene November 14 amid increasing worldwide pressure to resolve the crisis. Sirisena's action came hours after his party, United People's Freedom Alliance admitted that it does not have the numbers to enable newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to win a confidence vote in Parliament.

Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday night, only five days before it was due to reconvene and he was in danger of losing a vote of no confidence.

"This dissolution by the President is illegal and goes against the constitution", the UNP said on Twitter.

State television network Rupavahini announced on Friday that Sirisena signed a notification announcing the dissolution of Parliament effective at midnight Friday.

"Unfortunately, we fear that recent actions, if not corrected, will threaten your country's democratic development and derail the progress made in recent years", said the letter to Sirisena.

Former Sri Lankan president and the man who was sworn in as Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa supported the dissolution, and said, "As leaders, it is our responsibility and obligation to give the people the opportunity to voice their opinions on the future of #SriLanka". "The best thing to do now is go for an election".

The leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP), which regards the sacking of Wickremesinghe as unconstitutional, accused Sirisena of trying to consolidate his power grab.

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

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Independent legal experts have told Reuters that parliament could be dissolved only in early 2020, which would be four-and-half-years from the first sitting of the current parliament.

It was not immediately clear how Sirisena can legally dissolve parliament, though his legal experts have said there are provisions for him to do so.

Wickremesinghe insists he holds a majority in parliament and has refused to vacate his position while Rajapaksa - a former strongman who ruled as president between 2005 and 2015 - enjoys widespread support for ending the country's brutal 26-year civil war. 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.

The EU said on Friday, before the dissolution, that the crisis had scarred the Indian Ocean island's global reputation.

The U.S State Department tweeted that it is deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved, "further deepening the political crisis".

"You have not let this country be plunged into the darkness of dictatorship. For this inspiring effort, I want to thank everyone who has risen to fight for democracy and justice", Wickremesinghe said in a video posted on Facebook.

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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