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Sri Lanka president dissolves parliament, orders snap vote

Sri Lanka president dissolves parliament, orders snap vote

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved Parliament, days after the island nation plunged into a political crisis after Ranil Wickramasinghe was sacked as the Prime Minister.

Sirisena signed an official notification dismissing the 225-member assembly and setting the stage for snap elections two years ahead of schedule, AFP reported.

The U.S. Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said in a tweet that the United States was "deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved, further deepening the political crisis".

Prior to the dissolution, a spokesperson of the United People's Freedom Alliance, of which Sirisena is the head, told reporters that they have the support of "104 or 105 MPs", but said that they would show a majority of 113 or more on the floor of parliament.

He claimed that the party will need "crossover" legislators so Rajapaksa's dispensation can reach the majority mark.

Supporters of ousted Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe shout slogans as they gather at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo. "The best thing to do now is go for an election".

"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 US -based analyst group Atlantic Council's South Asia Center.

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

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

"Dissolving parliament at this time is illegal and goes against the constitution", JVP general secretary Tilvin Silva told reporters.

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. The speaker, the 225th member, is neutral.

The EU, in a joint statement with Norway and Switzerland, called for parliament to reconvene and hold an immediate vote.

"We will demonstrate to the public of Sri Lanka our majority".

"In extraordinary numbers and with extraordinary courage you came out on to the streets, you spoke out", Wickremesinghe said in a Facebook video.

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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