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Explainer: How likely is the military coup in Sri Lanka, impeachment of the President or dissolution of Parliament?

Gotabaya Rajapaksa had earlier extended the nationwide curfew till Thursday morning after supporters of the government on Monday attacked anti-government protesters camping in Colombo demanding the president’s resignation. Gotabaya’s brother Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as prime minister, leading to the dissolution of the cabinet. There is no government left to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund and lenders to pay off the $8.6 billion debt. This deal is very important so that 22 million people of Sri Lanka can be provided essential goods and the country’s economic condition can be stable.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has refused to resign and opposition parties have refused to form a unity government without changing the constitution. The powers of the President will not be limited without changes in the constitution.

Jehan Pereira, executive director of the National Peace Council in Colombo, said, “They will have to give the country a deadline as to when this will happen. This allows them to maintain themselves as rulers before the situation worsens.”

What can happen in Sri Lanka under these circumstances?

1. President can be removed from office

According to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, it is difficult to remove the President from office. But if 2-thirds of the members of Parliament pass a resolution to remove the President from office, then after this the Supreme Court will investigate why the President is not fit for office. If the judges agree on the results, the lawmakers will again vote on removing the president from office.

People of Sri Lanka’s People’s Front party say they have a majority in parliament, but recent violence has attacked the homes of 24 MPs linked to Rajapaksa, and killed a member of the ruling party. It is not clear whether this will change the equation.

2. The President should form a unity government with the opposition

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has proposed the opposition to form an all-party government. The main opposition parties are continuously rejecting this proposal. The influential Buddhist cleric and Sri Lanka’s Bar Council have proposed an interim government that will serve for 18 months, while lawmakers work on constitutional changes to curtail the president’s power. But any government without a large support base is likely to become unstable.

3. President dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections

The Constitution does not give the President the power to dissolve Parliament until half of his five-year term is over. This is not going to happen until February 2023. But the Constitution does allow the Parliament to request the dissolution of Parliament through a resolution. Some opposition leaders have talked about this option in the last few days, but elections will be costly and will take time. Even if the opposition wins, Gotabaya Rajapaksa will still have some important powers as president. In Sri Lanka, the President has the power to appoint the Prime Minister, and he also has the power to appoint and remove Union Ministers. The President can give any ministry to himself.

4. President resigns, flees the country

The protesters are expecting President Gotabaya to resign. If the violence intensifies and the President resigns, then the power will be in the hands of the one who becomes the Prime Minister immediately, the Speaker of the Parliament comes after this. After this, the Parliament will have one month to appoint someone else in place of the President by a majority vote through secret ballot. The new president will take office for the remainder of the presidential term, which expires in 2024.

5. Military coup

Sri Lanka has a history of dictatorship, if someone does a coup at this time it will help the Rajapaksa family. The Rajapaksa brothers have run Sri Lanka for 13 out of the last 17 years. Mostly on the strength of the latter. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is credited with ending 26 years of separatist conflict with ethnic Tamil rebels. Gotabaya has so far appointed more than two dozen serving or retired officers to key positions in the army.

One of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s most important aides is Sri Lankan Army Chief General Shavendra Silva, who has been banned by the US for war crimes in the last phase of the conflict with the LTTE. At present, Gotabaya has given the army the right to arrest anyone without a warrant and personal property can be searched. The Sri Lankan army chief has said that the Sri Lankan army is ready to take any step to protect the Sri Lankan constitution and to protect and protect the country.

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