The collapse of Sri Lanka’s first-ever coalition government, and the events that unfolded after 26 October, has put the island nation back under political turmoil.
The collapse of Sri Lanka’s first-ever coalition government, and the events that unfolded after 26 October, has put the island nation back under political turmoil.(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)
  • 1. The Key Players
  • 2. What Led to The Political Crisis
  • 3. What Is Sirisena's Justification?
  • 4. Is the Move Constitutional? No, Says Constitution
  • 5. What Will Wickremesinghe's Next Step Be?
  • 6. Did Wickremesinghe's Handling of 'Assassination Plot'...
  • 7. What Is India's Stand on The Turmoil?
Sri Lanka’s High-Stakes Political Battle, Behind the Scenes

In a surprise move, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday, 26 October, removed his faction out of the ruling coalition government, ousting Ranil Wickremesinghe from prime ministership and appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

A highly placed source in Wickremesinghe’s legal team told The Quint that the former prime minister’s camp will not only be moving court against his removal, but will also pursue an impeachment motion against President Sirisena.

The collapse of Sri Lanka’s first-ever coalition government, and the events that unfolded after 26 October, has plunged the island nation into unprecedented political turmoil.

What exactly has led to these events? Is Wickremesinghe’s removal constitutional? What role does that RAW ‘assassination plot’ have to play?

Here’s a primer on the crisis.

  • 1. The Key Players

    A senior minister under the then-president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet, Maithripala Sirisena had stunned the entire country by crossing over to the Opposition in December 2014. The joint Opposition led by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that Rajapaksa’s once-trusted aide Sirisena would take on the strongman.

    In the Presidential elections held the following year, Sirisena defeated Rajapaksa. The United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) came together to form a coalition ‘national unity’ government with Sirisena as the president and Wickremesinghe as the prime minister.

    An elected government was in place, for the first time after the bitter civil war. At that point, the media dubbed the elections an event in which Sri Lanka was experiencing ‘real democracy.’ However, this lasted only until 26 October 2018.

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