Sri Lankan lawmakers approved amendments to the constitution that strengthened the powers of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and took away parliament’s role in making key appointments such as judges and the police chief.
The new amendments were passed by parliament late on Thursday with a two-thirds majority after a raucous two-day debate.
Rajapaksa, a former defence chief who oversaw the military defeat of Tamil separatists a decade ago, swept to power last November and has since consolidated control.
The government said that strengthening the president’s powers was required for better governance.
Under the new law, Sri Lanka’s president will have the power to dissolve the 225-member legislature any time after it crosses the half-way mark of its five-year term.