SL Prez accuses foreign forces of intimidating him

Wednesday 12th December 2018 03:05 EST

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said the country's current political crisis is a result of a clash between external and local values, as he accused “foreign forces” of intimidating him. Sri Lanka has been in a political crisis since October 26 when Sirisena removed Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place. He later dissolved the Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered snap election. The Supreme Court later overturned Sirisena's decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls.

“When I acted according to the principles of nationalism without giving in to foreign forces and without being intimidated by their threats, foreign forces have become a challenge. The shadows of the old imperialism stand in our way,” Sirisena said, refraining from naming any country. “The current crisis is the result of the concern by the world powers over the affairs of our country due to Sri Lanka's geographical importance or its location in the world map.” He added, “This is an issue between those who believe in foreign thinking and those who respect local values.”

The President said that he would accept whatever the Supreme Court's ruling on the petitions filed against the gazette notification issued by him to dissolve Parliament. He even tweeted, “ I look forward to the constitutional interpretation of the Supreme Court. Whatever it may be, I will take future political decisions accordingly, to the best interest of our motherland, not to the benefit of any person, group or party”. It was aimed at the United National Party with whom Sirisena was running the national unity government. The partnership ended this year on October 26, when he fired Wickremesingh, triggering a political stand-off in the country.

Sirisena has already said he has no intention of making Wickremesinghe prime minister again no matter what the outcome of the case. Currently, both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa claim to be the prime ministers of Sri Lanka. The former said his dismissal is invalid because he still holds a majority in the 225-member Parliament. The United National Front (UNF) coalition led by Wickeremesinghe has moved three motions of no trust against Rajapaksa. However, he refused to step down.

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