US urges Sri Lankan political parties to refrain from violence after Sirisena appoints Rajapaksa as new PM

Washington: The US urged political parties in Sri Lanka on Friday to abide by the Constitution and refrain from violence, as the island nation faces a constitutional crisis after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked his former ally Ranil Wickremesinghe and made controversial strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa the new premier.

File image of Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. AFP

File image of Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. AFP

In its first reaction to the unfolding situation in Sri Lanka, the US State Department said it is following the development in the country. "We call on all parties to act in accordance with SL's Constitution, refrain from violence, and follow due process," the State Department said in a tweet.

"We expect gov of SL to uphold its Geneva commitments to human rights, reform, accountability, justice, and reconciliation," the South and Central Asia Bureau of the State Department said.

Rajapaksa, 72 staged a dramatic political comeback on Friday, becoming the new prime minister after Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe, who termed the move as "unconstitutional" and vowed to prove his majority in Parliament.

The move that took Sri Lanka by surprise came amid growing tensions between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe on several policy matters even as the President remained critical of the Prime Minister and his policies, especially on economy and security.

Wickremesinghe has asserted that the swearing-in of Rajapaksa is "illegal and unconstitutional" and he will prove his majority in Parliament.

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Updated Date: Oct 27, 2018 11:08:20 IST

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