Constitutional crisis in making for Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA faced a possible constitutional crisis yesterday, after its parliament voted to impeach the chief justice, disregarding rulings from the supreme court that the process was illegal and threatened judicial independence.

The move has caused an outcry among opposition lawmakers, religious leaders and lawyers.

Dominated by a coalition headed by president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s party, parliament voted to impeach Shirani Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka’s first female chief justice, with 155 of the legislature’s 225 members in favour.

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During a two-day debate, lawmakers ignored rulings by the supreme court and court of appeal against the impeachment, after a parliamentary panel found Ms Bandaranayake guilty of financial irregularities and failure to declare assets.

She will be removed after Mr Rajapaksa declares the outcome of the impeachment, the date of which has not been announced.