A Sri Lankan court has barred former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from acting as prime minister as it hears a petition challenging his refusal to step down, despite losing two no-confidence motions last month.
Judge Preethipadhman Surasena issued the stay order on Monday, saying “irreversible damage could be caused” if Rajapaksa and ministers of his cabinet continued to hold office.
He said the Court of Appeal will sit again on December 12 to deliver a verdict in the petition filed by a majority of Sri Lanka‘s legislators.
Some 122 legislators in the 225-member House voted to remove Rajapaksa on November 14 and 18, after denouncing his appointment as prime minister “unconstitutional”.
But the former president rejected the outcome of the ballots, claiming the speaker had failed to follow proper procedure by holding voice votes.
Rajapaksa’s shock appointment by President Maithripala Sirisena on October 26 has plunged the Indian Ocean island nation into turmoil, as his predecessor Ranil Wickremesinghe continues to lay claim to the post.
More soon …