New York City: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over the growing constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka and has urged the government to ensure peace and safety of all citizens.
“The Secretary-General learned with concern of President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Sri Lanka’s parliament and move to new parliamentary elections on 5 January 2019,” said the Spokesman for the Secretary-General in a statement released on Saturday.
Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric de la Riviere said that the Secretary-General has underlined the importance of respecting democratic processes and institutions and resolving differences in accordance with the rule of law and due process. Guterres has urged the Sri Lankan government to uphold its commitments to human rights, justice and reconciliation.
Sirisena dissolved the Parliament with effect from Friday midnight after days of political unrest in the Asian island nation and announced that the general elections in the country would be held on January 5, 2019.
The United National Party of Sri Lanka “vehemently rejected” the move and tweeted, “we vehemently reject the President’s dissolution of Parliament. He has robbed the people of their rights and the democracy that we have enjoyed.”
Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party had earlier admitted to not having the votes to confirm Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister of the country in place of Ranil Wickremesinghe.
United National Party (UNP) leader Wickremesinghe was abruptly sacked by the President Sirisena on October 26. He was subsequently replaced by former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sirisena further suspended the country’s Parliamentary proceedings until November 16.
Sirisena on November 5 announced to reconvene the Sri Lankan Parliament on November 14, amid rising demands by legislators of the state to end the political crisis in the island nation as soon as possible.