US weighs in on political crisis in Sri Lanka

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has weighed in on a political crisis that has engulfed the Indian Ocean island nation of Sri Lanka since the president abruptly fired the prime minister and replaced him with an authoritarian former leader who has been accused of serious human rights abuses.

State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters Wednesday, “It’s up to the parliament to decide who the prime minister is.” That follows the Sri Lankan president’s sacking last week of Ranil Wickremesinghe (rah-NEEL wihk-ruh-muh-SIHNG-hah) and his replacement with former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa (mah-HIHN-dah rah-jah-PAHK-she) in an apparent violation of the constitution.

The president swore in a new Cabinet under Rajapaksa on Monday despite a warning from the parliament speaker of possible violence if lawmakers were not summoned immediately to resolve the crisis.

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