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International News

Nov 18, 2019

Gotabaya sworn in as Lankan president; discussions begin to dissolve Parliament

As Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as the new President of Sri Lanka today, discussions have begun to dissolve the Parliament and hold fresh elections.

Leader of the Opposition and Gotabaya’s elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa has said with the victory in the presidential election, it is best to hold a parliamentary election.

The former President said that work cannot be commenced as the President is from one party and the cabinet, including the Prime Minister, from another. He said the mandate of the people should be respected.

Sources in the Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) said they are having discussions with the United National Party (UNP) to reach a consensus on dissolving the House.

As per the Constitution, Parliament cannot be dissolved till February next year until the House passes a resolution to this effect with a two-thirds majority.

Meanwhile, a meeting of UNP parliamentary group under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe failed to arrive at a decision on this issue.

There were reports of heated exchanges between MPs loyal to him and those supporting Sajith Premadasa who lost the presidential election.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he will follow a neutral foreign policy and stay out of any conflict with world powers. He was sworn in as seventh President of Sri Lanka at a ceremony in Anuradhapura this morning.

Speaking after the ceremony, Gotabaya said he knew that the response to his request to the Tamil and Muslim community to join in his victory was less than expected.

However, as a new President, he invited all to work together with him for the future prosperity of the country, as true Sri Lankans. He also promised a technocratic and meritocratic system with no place for corruption.

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