The president of Sri Lanka extends the parliament for a month

COLOMBO: The president of Sri Lanka extended the parliament for a month and set January 3, 2020 for the beginning of the next session.

The parliament should have met on Tuesday, according to the schedule.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a special notification in the gazette from midnight on Monday, noting that parliament would reconvene on January 3.

The President has constitutional powers to do so, officials said.

He is expected to make a ceremonial speech at the reopening on January 3, during which he will describe the policies of his new government, they added.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed the position of seventh president of Sri Lanka on November 18 after defeating the candidate of the ruling party Sajith Premadasa by more than 13 lakh votes, marking the return of the powerful Rajapaksa dynasty known for his pro-Chinese inclination.

His party lacks a working majority in the 225-member assembly and ending the session will give him freedom to govern without the opposition of legislators.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa named his older brother and former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new prime minister after the headline Ranil Wickremesinghe resigned from office after the electoral debacle.

The 74-year-old leader will function as prime minister of the provisional cabinet until the general elections of August 2020.

Wickremesinghe and his allies, who command the majority in the House, are not expected to challenge the government and will continue until the next parliamentary elections, which can be held at any time after the end of February.

President Goatabaya Rajapaksa said he would conduct an instant parliamentary poll at the first available opportunity.

The president could issue another order delaying the next session for two more months on January 3. In March, the president can legally dissolve parliament and call an election.