Sri Lanka court puts PM's position on hold

Sri Lanka Parliament,President Maithripala Sirisena,Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lankan court bars Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister

A court in Sri Lanka suspended Mahinda Rajapakse's powers as prime minister on Monday and ruled his disputed cabinet could not govern the strife-torn island until it proved its legitimacy.

The court of appeal said "irreparable damage" could be done to Sri Lanka if Rajapakse, whose controversial appointment as prime minister a month ago sparked a political crisis, was allowed to remain as head of government.

Sri Lanka's toppled premier likened the president to Hitler on Tuesday as he demanded to be reinstated, nearly six weeks into a paralysing political crisis in the Indian Ocean nation.

Observing that President Maithripala Sirisena must not take "subjective decisions" pertaining to the Constitution, Sri Lanka's deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday said: "Don't be like Hitler and other dictators". The Supreme Court overturned Sirisena's decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls.

However, with Wickremesinghe's supporters still controlling a majority in Parliament, which has witnessed brawls between MPs in recent weeks, Rajapakse has lost two votes of confidence. Wickremesinghe says his dismissal is invalid because he still holds a majority in the 225-member Parliament. In the votes, 103 legislators voted in favor of Rajapaksa. Sirisena had complained about sharp political differences with Wickremesinghe.

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The justices are expected to make a final decision on that move on Friday.

"There is a possibility of withdrawing the gazette", said a source in regular discussion with Sirisena, referring to the official announcement by which the president dissolved parliament.

Monday, appellate judge Preethipadhman Surasena issued the stay, laying groundwork for a full hearing by the court on December 12 to decide the matter.

"I am addressing you as the prime minister of Sri Lanka", Wickremesinghe said in October during a public hearing after his removal.

However, the President once again stressed that he will not reappoint the ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe even if all the parliamentarians in the Parliament supports him.

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