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04 December 2018, 07:37 | Darnell Patrick
Sri Lankan court bars Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister
Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal on Monday issued an interim order restraining Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Cabinet from functioning until the petition against them is heard.
The Appeal Court began a hearing on a petition on Friday signed by 122 legislators that challenged Rajapaksa's authority to hold office after he lost two no-confidence votes last month.
Rajapaksa said he will take his appeal to the Supreme Court on Tuesday and seek an order halting the decision.
Sri Lanka has been in political turmoil since October 26, when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa in his place.
The petitioners sought an order in the nature of Quo Warranto declaring that 49 respondents including the Prime Minister and the Ministers of the incumbent government are not entitled to hold the office of ministers of the cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
The Supreme Court this week is also expected to rule on whether Sirisena's decision to dissolve parliament in November was constitutional.
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Mr Rajapaksa is seen as a hero by many among Sri Lanka's Buddhist majority for ending the war but has been accused by diplomats of rights abuses, particularly at the end of the conflict, which he denies.
Wickremesinghe - who was unceremoniously dumped by his former ally Sirisena in a late-night power swap - says his sacking was illegal, and parliament supports his stake to lead the country.
The UNF has moved three no trust motions against Rajapaksa, who has refused to step down.
"There is a possibility of withdrawing the gazette", said a source in regular discussion with Sirisena, referring to the official announcement by which the president dissolved parliament.
The Sri Lankan president has said that due to sharp personal differences with Wickremesinghe he would not reappoint him as the Prime Minister.
However, Mr. Wickremesinghe's UNP claims that Mr. Sirisena will be left with no choice as he would be the man who will command the confidence in the House.
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