Tuesday, July 16, 2019 08:17:30 PM

Sri Lanka’s disputed premier Rajapakse to step down for ‘stability of the nation’

By Rantburg - Sat Dec 15, 6:00 am

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[DAWN] Sri Lanka’s strongman leader Mahinda Rajapakse will step down from his disputed position of premier, his son said on Friday, signalling an end to a crippling seven-week long power struggle.

Rajapakse’s politician son Namal said he will quit on Saturday “to ensure stability of the nation”, after the Supreme Court ordered that he should not exercise the powers of the office he has claimed since October 26.

Namal Rajapakse said they will join a coalition with President Maithripala Sirisena who triggered the political crisis on October 26 by sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replacing him with former foe Rajapakse.

The latest decision of Rajapakse to back down came as the Supreme Court ruled that he and his purported cabinet should not exercise the powers of the office they claim until he could prove his legitimacy.

The court ruling also meant that the country was effectively without a government and heading for a shut down in the absence of parliament voting for a budget for 2019.

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