Sri Lanka court restrains Rajapaksa from acting as prime minister

Sri Lanka court restrains Rajapaksa from acting as prime minister
Sri Lanka's newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/Files

Colombo: A Sri Lankan court on Tuesday issued an order preventing Mahinda Rajapaksa from acting as prime minister and holding cabinet meetings, the latest twist to a political drama gripping the South Asian country.

The Appeal Court began a hearing on a petition on Friday signed by 122 legislators that challenged Rajapaksa's authority to hold office after he lost two no-confidence votes last month.

"An interim order is granted against the first respondent functioning as the prime minister...also issuing interim order against 30 other respondents functioning in their offices," judge Preethipadhman Surasena said.

Rajapaksa and his cabinet ministers have been asked to appear in court on December 12, the judge added.

Meanwhile, Rajapaksa called for a snap parliamentary election and said it was the only way the country could solve the ongoing political instability.

Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a political crisis since October 26 when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa's party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, organized a mass activity in Colombo on Monday afternoon with hundreds of people calling for a snap parliamentary poll.

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