Aust disappointed with Sri Lanka president


The federal government has expressed “concern and disappointment” with Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena and his decision to dissolve the nation’s parliament.

The president, who dissolved parliament on Friday, has called for fresh elections amid a deepening political crisis.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne issued a statement on Saturday questioning the president’s move.

“As a longstanding friend, we believe this action undermines Sri Lanka’s long democratic tradition and poses a risk to its stability and prosperity,” Ms Payne said.

“We urge respect for the country’s democratic institutions and for all parties to continue to exercise restraint.”

A government notification signed by Sirisena announced the dissolution of parliament effective at midnight on Friday.

The notice said the election will be held on January 5 and the new parliament is to be convened on January 17.

Sri Lanka has been in a political crisis since October 26 when Sirisena fired his prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Wickremesinghe insists his firing is unconstitutional and he’ demanded parliament be summoned to prove he has support among its members.

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