IANS

Rajapaksa to appeal against court verdict on government’s suspension

Colombo, Dec 4 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa will file a legal appeal against a court verdict, which temporarily halted him and members of his purported government from functioning as the Prime Minister, Cabinet and deputy ministers, a statement said here on Tuesday.

Former President Rajapaksa in the statement said he and his party did not agree with an interim stay order issued by the Court of Appeal on Monday, which prevented him and his party members from holding public office till the case is heard on December 12.

“We wish to emphasize the fact that the interpretation of the Constitution and making final determinations in that regard is exclusively vested in the Supreme Court by the Constitution,” Rajapaksa was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

“The struggle to establish political stability in this country through the holding of a parliamentary election needs the support of the people more than ever at this moment,” he added.

A Court of Appeal issued its order after 122 parliamentarians filed a petition challenging Rajapaksa and his government holding office even after they were defeated in two no-confidence motions in Parliament.

The court also issued notices to the 49 government ministers and Rajapaksa to appear before it on December 12 for the hearing.

Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a political turmoil since President Maithripala Sirisena surprisingly sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Rajapaksa in late October.

Sirisena has rejected the results of the two no-trust votes, saying they were not conducted in a legal manner and has requested Parliament to call for a vote again on December 5.

Rajapaksa and his party have boycotted Parliament sessions since November, saying that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was acting in favour of Wickremesinghe and his party.

They also said they would continue to boycott sessions till they were recognized as the government.

–IANS
soni/sed

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