crisis

End of Sri Lankan Crisis | Burning Issues | Free PDF

END OF THE POWER STRUGGLE

United National Party leader RanilWickremesinghe was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Sunday, ending a 51-day power tussle in the island nation that had crippled the government. Mr. Wickremesinghe, 69, was administered the oath of office by President Maithripala Sirisena, who had sacked him on October 26 in a controversial move which plunged the island nation into an unprecedented constitutional crisis. The UNP leader had refused to step down asserting that his sacking was illegal.

SRI LANKA CRISIS

 NOTES

Strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was installed as Prime Minister by President Sirisena, resigned on Saturday, after two crucial Supreme Court decisions made his efforts to cling to premiership untenable.

 NOTES

  • However, the Supreme Court overturned his decision and halted the preparations for snap polls.
  • The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously declared that the dissolution of Parliament by Mr. Sirisena was “illegal”.

THIS IS GOOD FOR SRI LANKA

Most of the countries had not recognised Mr. Rajapaksa’s government. The global credit rating agencies — the Fitch, the Standard & Poor’s and the Moody’s — had also downgraded Sri Lanka’s rating owing to the current political crisis.

 EXECUTIVE POWER IN SRI LANKA

In Sri Lanka, the President is the most dominant political force. The Prime Minister’s role is limited to a deputy to the President, besides being the leader of Cabinet. However, in the latest development, the final call to decide whether the President has the power to straightway dismiss or replace a Prime Minister lies with the Sri Lankan Supreme Court. In 2015, Sri Lanka had amended its constitution to prevent the president from sacking any prime minister unless they had died, resigned or lost the confidence of parliament.

19TH CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

The argument seems to have derived its salience in the context of the 19th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution, passed in 2015 The 19th Amendment has restored the Westminster framework of the relationship between the head of state, the PM, and Parliament It curtailed powers of the President under the 1978 Constitution (the original) as well as the 18th Amendment passed in 2010

INDIA’S CONCERNS

Wickremesinghe met select Colombo-based diplomats. It is said to have included those from the European Union, the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Italy, France, Switzerland, South Africa and India. Many of the countries had put out similar sounding statements and tweets, underscoring the need to respect due constitutional process and democracy. The countries are loosely identifying themselves as being likeminded on this development

 INDIA-CHINA GEOPOLITICAL TUSSLE

The crisis highlights the role of powerful Asian rivals, India and China. While Sirisena tried to free his country from Chinese debt, he was instead drawn back to China after being unable to do so, and He ended up giving “China a controlling equity stake and a 99-year lease for Hambantota port, which it handed over in December 2017,” a move which alarmed the United States and India, which fear its potential strategic applications.

 THE INDIAN CONCERN

The recent changes put in question the proposed Indian investments in Sri Lanka, primarily in Mattala Airport, the Port of Colombo’s East Container Terminal, the LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant in Kerawalapitiya, and Palaly Airport in Jaffna. They also cast a shadow on Indian-Sri Lankan relations.

 CHINESE RETREAT IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

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