Editors' Introduction - 'Understanding the Unfolding Constitutional Crisis in Sri Lanka'

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Erika Arban & Tom Gerald Daly



On Friday 26 October a constitutional crisis began in Sri Lanka, triggered by three announcements by the secretariat of President Maithripala Sirisena, in the following sequence:

(i) That the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had withdrawn from the government;

(ii) That former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had been sworn in as new Prime Minister before President Maithripala Sirisena; and

(iii) That the President had informed incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in writing that he had been removed from the office of Prime Minister under Article 42(4). Wickremesinghe had been appointed by the President in January 2015 after a shock election victory over the strongman prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in order to form a "national unity" cabinet that would include members from a cross-section of political parties in parliament.

On the day of these announcements the IACL-AIDC Blog published a post by Dr Asanga Welikala, providing immediate reflections on the above announcements and their constitutionality.

Aims of the Symposium

Blog Symposia on the IACL-AIDC Blog are ordinarily planned in advance, based on a selected theme: see previous symposia on e.g. the Supreme Court of India’s judgment decriminalising homosexual acts, or on the 30th anniversary of South Korea’s democratic transition.

On this occasion, we have opted to create a Blog Symposium section to help our readers better understand this unfolding constitutional crisis, by gathering together posts, cross-posts, and other information sent to us for circulation.

This is in line with our Mission Statement, issued as the Blog was re-launched at the IACL World Congress in June 2015, “to provide a user-friendly meeting place for constitutionalists around the world to present their research, share their views, and discuss crucial constitutional law topics”, to respond to constitutional law developments, and to frame important debates as well as providing much-needed context. In putting this Blog Symposium together we have drawn on our links with Sri Lankan scholars based both in Sri Lanka and worldwide.

Send us Your Information

If you wish to contribute a text to this Symposium – whether it’s your own views, a post or article you have seen elsewhere, or other useful documents – feel free to send it to us at iacl.blogeditor@gmail.com.

Erika Arban and Tom Gerald Daly