COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan court on Monday ordered disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ministers to refrain from carrying out their duties as it hears an appeal against them.
While the ruling by the Court of Appeal is an interim order, it is yet another setback for Rajapaksa, who has held on to the position of prime minister with President Maithripala Sirisena’s backing despite losing two no-confidence votes.
The parliamentary speaker announced that Rajapaksa’s government was dissolved after the passage of the no-confidence motions. Parliament has also passed resolutions to cut off funds to the offices of Rajapaksa and his ministers.
Still, Rajapaksa continued to function as prime minister, with Sirisena dismissing the no-confidence votes, saying proper procedures were not followed.
The Court of Appeal on Monday scheduled the next hearing in the case for Dec. 12, summoning Rajapaksa and his ministers to explain on what basis they continued to hold office after the no-confidence votes.
Sirisena had opposed Wickremesinghe’s economic policies and plans to conduct investigations against state military forces for alleged abuses during the country’s long civil war, which ended in 2009.