Sri Lanka’s parliament speaker calls on officials to defy “illegal” orders amid political turmoil

Publish: 12:26 PM, November 12, 2018 | Update: 12:26:PM, November 12, 2018

COLOMBO – Sri Lankan parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has called on all public servants to refuse to execute any “illegal” orders they may receive in the midst of an ongoing political crisis, local media reported Monday.

In a statement, Jayasuriya said every citizen who was entrusted with responsibilities under Sri Lanka’s Constitution, should think first of the country and not of party politics or personal affiliations.

“Under these dire circumstances, I urge all public servants who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution to revisit that Oath,” the speaker said.

“I call upon all public servants to refuse to execute any illegal orders they may receive, no matter from whom,” he added.

Jayasuriya’s statement came after President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament and declared an early parliamentary election Friday night in order to solve the escalating political turmoil, which erupted after he sacked
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapakse to the post.

A day after Rajapakse’s appointment on Oct. 26, President Sirisena suspended the parliament till Nov. 16, but later issued a gazette notification stating parliament would convene on Nov. 14.

Jayasuriya also had requested Sirisena to convene parliament immediately to see which party held a majority.

Sirisena, in an address to the nation late Sunday, said he dissolved parliament and declared Jan. 5, 2019 for a snap parliamentary poll to avoid any violence on the streets and on the floor of House, if parliament would have convened on Nov 14.

Several political parties have filed a legal challenge in the Supreme Court against the early dissolution of the parliament.