As fear of “serious repercussions” of Sri Lankan legislation being in recess continue to rise especially amid the coronavirus outbreak, an opposition member of the parliament has called for an urgent recall of 225-member assembly. The parliament in Sri Lanka was dissolved ahead of elections that was scheduled to take place in March, 2020. However, it now stands postponed till June due to the lockdown imposed in the country to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the state funding will not be legal from May 1.
In a letter with a call of action, Sri Lankan opposition MP and the former finance minister Mangala Samaraweera wrote a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to save the country from a financial crisis. According to Samaraweera, if the legislation fails to come back in session, the country is “bound to have serious repercussions in light of international obligations”.
Before the Sri Lankan Parliament was dissolved, the members had voted to run the country with state funds until April 30. Meanwhile, since Rajapaksa’s minority government came to power in November, the government has not yet tabled the budget for 2020, instead rooted for early parliamentary elections in a bid to secure a majority.
However, the opposition has accused Rajapaksa of using the lockdown during the global health crisis as a way to sideline the requirements in the constitution of the country by wanting a new legislature to be in function within three months of its dissolution. Even the Election Commission has warned of a constitutional crisis in the country.
The political crisis in Sri Lanka started in the country when it is also battling the coronavirus outbreak which has infected over 600 people and killed at least seven people. Sri Lanka even witnessed a 70 per cent fall in tourism in just the month of March with most countries under lockdown. Several countries have restricted foreign travels which have further taken a toll on the economic balance in countries dependent on tourism.