Sri Lanka President to call snap parliamentary poll in March

Will consult people at the earliest opportunity: Gotabaya Rajapaksa

November 22, 2019 10:07 pm | Updated 10:09 pm IST - Colombo

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka’s new President said on Friday that he will call a snap parliamentary election in March following his sweeping victory in the recent presidential poll

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is hoping to ride a wave of popularity by calling an election six months before the current Parliament’s five-year term expires on March 1.

“I will consult the people at the earliest opportunity I get under the Constitution,” he said, after swearing-in a new Cabinet headed by his brother Mahinda, a former President who will now serve as the Prime Minister.

The brothers are credited with brutally defeating Tamil separatist militants in 2009 to end Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, making them adored among the majority Sinhalese-Buddhist majority. For the same reason they are feared by many Tamils, and also among the Muslim minority who have seen increased hostility since the Easter Sunday attacks in April.

Currently the Rajapaksas and their allies have just 96 lawmakers in the 225-seat parliament, making it hard for them to pass legislation. The Opposition of outgoing premier Ranil Wickremesinghe is also six MPs short of a majority. The new 16-member Cabinet also includes another Rajapaksa brother, Chamal, who was made Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation in addition to Trade.

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