Sri Lanka president 'dissolves parliament' amid deepening crisis

Sri Lanka LGBT rights activists protested the President

The dissolution is the latest twist in a constitutional crisis that began October 26 when Sirisena unexpectedly fired Ranil Wickremesinghe, who served since 2015 as prime minister in a unity government with Sirisena.

Sirisena suspended parliament to give himself more time to engineer defections, according to the opposition.

Supporters of ousted Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe shout slogans as they gather at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo early November 10. However, the decision to dissolve the house shows otherwise, observers say.

President Maithripala Sirisena signed a decree dismissing the island's 225-member assembly and scheduled parliamentary elections for January 5, almost two years ahead of schedule. The current Parliament was elected in August 2015.

As protests rocked the streets of the capital Colombo, however, the United National Party voiced its indignation on social media, saying it "is illegal and goes against the constitution". "For this inspiring effort, I want to thank everyone who has risen to fight for democracy and justice".

"Dissolving parliament at this time is illegal and goes against the constitution", JVP's general secretary, Tilvin Silva, told reporters.

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"Any further delay could damage Sri Lanka's global reputation and deter investors", the statement said.

"Unfortunately, we fear that recent actions, if not corrected, will threaten your country's democratic development and derail the progress made in recent years", said the letter to Sirisena.

Rajapaksa indicated what was coming hours before the dissolution in a speech.

He said that the President first took the unconstitutional decision to sack the Prime Minister and prorogue Parliament.

Sirisena had been critical of investigations into military personnel accused of human rights violations during Sri Lanka's long civil war against a Tamil separatist group, which ended in 2009. The European Union in Colombo on Thursday said that it was essential that parliament be allowed to demonstrate its confidence by voting immediately when reconvened in order to resolve the serious uncertainties now facing the country.

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