Supporters of ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate outside the supreme court complex in Colombo, Dec. 13, 2018.
Supporters of ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate outside the supreme court complex in Colombo, Dec. 13, 2018.

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has ruled that President Maithripala Sirisena's move to dissolve parliament last month was illegal.  

In a unanimous decision announced Thursday, the seven-member court said that Sirisena violated the constitution when he called a snap election nearly two years before the parliamentary session was due to end.  

The decision adds another chapter to a political crisis that began on on October 26, when President Sirisena fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, claiming that an informant told police that a Cabinet minister was part of a plot to assassinate him.

Sri Lanka's sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesi
Ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe holds a copy of the constitution of Sri Lanka as he attends a media briefing at his official residence in Colombo, Oct. 29, 2018.

He replaced Wickremesinghe with Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country's former president and strongman, then suspended parliament the next day. In an apparent bow to international pressure, Sirisena summoned lawmakers back to work last Monday.

But when it became apparent that Rajapaksa would not survive a no-confidence vote, Sirisena dissolved parliament on November 9 and called for snap elections. The Supreme Court overruled the president's decree in a ruling issued just days later.

Wickremesinghe has remained in the prime minister's official residence in Colombo in defiance of Sirisena's actions. 

FILE - Sri Lanka's newly appointed Prime Minister
Newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa speaks during the parliament session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 15, 2018.

The push to oust Rajapaksa dragged Sri Lanka's parliament into chaos.  Speaker Karu Jayasuriya held a voice vote on November 14 on the no-confidence motion after Rajapaksa's supporters staged an noisy, impromptu protest in the chamber before debate began.

The next day, rival lawmakers exchanged blows after Jayasuriya declared that Sri Lanka had no prime minister or a cabinet, with some of Rajapaksa's supporters hurling water bottles and other objects at Jayasuriya. 

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