President Maithripala Sirisena has triggered a constitutional crisis by appointing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister.
According to the 19th Amendment to the constitution, the President does not have powers to remove the Prime Minister, although he has powers to appoint one.
Therefore, there is a viewpoint that President Sirisena has appointed Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister, without legally removing Ranil Wickremesinghe from his position.
According to the 19th Amendment to the constitution, a Prime Minister cannot be removed in the Nineteenth Amendment, unless a) he resigns from office, or b) ceases to be a Member of Parliament. The dissolution of Parliament can also result in the resignation of the incumbent Prime Minister.
Making a strong statement, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told a short while ago that he was still the Prime Minister and the appointment of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was “unconstitutional”.
Wickremesinghe also added that he would retain the post of the Prime Minister as would not step down from office.
He made this statement after consulting senior Parliamentarians of the UNP and his legal advisors, shortly after the surprise swearing-in of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Commenting on the development, Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said, “The appointment of @PresRajapaksa as the Prime Minister is unconstitutional & illegal. This is an anti-democratic coup.”