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Sri Lanka President calls elections on April 25, new parliament on May 14

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has dissolved parliament with polls to be held on April 25, 2020, in a widely expected move, a proclamation issued on March 02 said.

A new parliament would meet on May 14, the order said.

President Rajapaksa, who won a landslide in November 2019, is dissolving parliament 4.5 years after it first sat on September 2015, in a bid to strengthen his control over the legislature and carry out his program.

His brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is to drive the election campaign.

Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Party has said it is seeking a two thirds majority to change the constitution and overturn a 19th amendment, which had limited the powers of the presidency, re-introduced term limits strengthened the independence of the judiciary and sections of the public service.

After winning Presidential elections in November, Rajapaksa has depended on the opposition to pass legislation, and has not yet passed a budget for 2020.

An attempt to expand a four month mini-budget was abandoned at the last minute in late February after the opposition refused to raise the debt limit.

Giving effect to elections promises, taxes have been slashed by the revenue office, pending parliamentary sanction.

After dissolving Parliament, President Rajapaksa has the powers to allocate money for elections and to day to day operations of the government for three months.

Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Party is going to polls with the main opposition United National Party split and in disarray.

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