Sri Lanka President hardens stand against sacked PM

In a statement Sri Lanka's newly appointed prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said he did not accept the appeal court's ruling and would take the matter to the Supreme Court

Judges who considered the arguments presented by both sides said that an irreversible damage could be caused if persons not entitled to do so sit as Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe takes part in a press conference in Colombo on 29 October 2018.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was controversially elected as Sri Lanka's prime minister by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Rajapaksa is seen as a hero by many among Sri Lanka's Buddhist majority for ending a bloody war with Tamil rebels in 2009, but has been accused by diplomats and global rights groups of human rights abuses, which he denies.

"There is a possibility of withdrawing the gazette", said a source in regular discussion with Sirisena, referring to the official announcement by which the president dissolved parliament.

"I am telling the president not to act like Hitler who bypassed the constitution".

Sirisena held onto a hard-line stance even as the Court of Appeal issued an interim order blocking Rajapakse exercising the powers of the prime minister until a determination of the case filed by 122 MPs.

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The court of appeal said "irreparable damage" could be done to Sri Lanka if Rajapakse, whose controversial appointment as prime minister a month ago sparked a political crisis, was allowed to remain as head of government.

As of now, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who enjoys majority support in Parliament is the obvious choice for the Premiership.

He urged supporters to remain calm and join his struggle to press for a general election almost two years ahead of schedule.

He had proved majority support on two occasions in the recent past, when his group successfully moved two Motions of No Confidence against Rajapaksa on November 14 and 16.

The Court of Appeal had issued notices to Rajapaksa and his ministerial colleagues returnable on December 12. However, there were no signs of a settlement by Tuesday afternoon.

The Supreme Court is set to begin hearing a petition on whether Sirisena's decision to dissolve parliament was constitutional.

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