Sri Lankan MPs file legal challenge against Rajapaksa

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal on Monday accepted a legal challenge against newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cabinet, deepening the political crisis that enters its second month in the island country.

The court accepted the petition filed by 122 legislators against Rajapaksa and 48 others who have been named as Ministers, state Ministers and deputy Ministers in the new government appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena, Xinhua news agency reported.

The case is to be taken up for preliminary hearing on Friday.

The petitioners are seeking an interim order preventing Rajapaksa and his government from exercising any authority of a legitimate cabinet.

The legislators who have filed the petition are from ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party, the Tamil National Alliance and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

They argue that a “state of anarchy and chaos” would ensue in the country given that Rajapaksa’s cabinet had lost two votes of no-confidence motions and does not command a majority in Parliament.

Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a severe political crisis after President Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister on October 26.

The President appointed a new caretaker government thereafter.