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AFP
August 8, 2020

Poll win gives Rajapaksa tighter grip on Sri Lanka

World

AFP
August 8, 2020

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s ruling Rajapaksa brothers secured a two-thirds majority in a parliamentary election that allowed them to rewrite the constitution and increase their power, final results showed Friday.

The United States, which had been highly critical of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s previous administration, immediately called on the new government to respect human rights and the rule of law.

Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) won 145 seats in Wednesday’s election and can count on at least five allies in the new 225-member legislature, according to Election Commission results. SLPP ideologue Gamini Lakshman Peiris said they would move to restore the president’s prerogative to sack parliament, a power that was taken away by the outgoing government in 2015.

He said new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda’s younger brother, wanted to dissolve parliament no sooner he won elections in November, but the 19th amendment to the constitution prevented him.

“That is highly unacceptable,” Peiris said. He did not specify what other statute changes were contemplated, but the SLPP had promised to scrap the 2015 reforms that sought to depoliticise the police, the public service, the judiciary and the election commission.

Officials said Mahinda, 74, will be sworn in as premier by his 71-year-old brother Gotabaya at a Buddhist temple near the capital on Sunday.