Sri Lanka to call back parliament to extend emergency

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa will reconvene the island nation’s dissolved parliament on March 9 to extend an emergency law by another month ahead of parliamentary polls in April, officials said on Tuesday.

The government has yet to lift the powerful wartime emergency regulations that give it wide powers of arrest and detention without trial despite an end to the 25-year war against Tamil Tiger rebels last May.

Opposition parties have complained the government is using the emergency law to suppress them politically, but the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa says it is needed to mop up remnants of the Tamil rebel network.

Susil Premajayantha, the general secretary of president Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition confirmed the move to extend the law, which was extended for a month on Feb. 5.

The president, who can use his executive power to extend the emergency law, has to ratify it within 10 days of his announcement through a vote in parliament.

Rajapaksa dissolved parliament last month and called for legislative polls on April 8 after winning the presidential election in January.

Reporting by Shihar Annez; Editing by Bill Tarrant