COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankas president Mahinda Rajapakse on Tuesday dissolved the parliament, clearing the way for a national election two months ahead of schedule, his spokesman said. Rajapakse, who won re-election in presidential polls last month, signed a decree dissolving the national assembly with effect from midnight Tuesday, spokesman Lucien Rajakarunanayake said. It is now up to the elections commissioner to decide on the dates for the parliamentary election, he said. The legislature elected in 2004 could have continued till April but Rajapakses latest move allows the ruling party to hold a snap election hot on the heels of his stunning success in the January 26 presidential vote. Hours before parliament was dismissed, the government announced it was launching court martial proceedings against the defeated main opposition presidential candidate and former army chief, Sarath Fonseka. Fonseka had been discussing plans to contest the parliamentary elections with other opposition leaders when he was dragged away by troops who moved him to an undisclosed detention centre. Ministry spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Fonseka, who was seized by troops at his office in Colombo on Monday night, had been colluding with opposition politicians while he was still head of the army. The broader charges were that he engaged with political leaders and political parties that were working against the government, Rambukwella told reporters. He shall be tried and punished for that offence by a court martial. Asked if Fonseka could be tried for treason, Rambukwella said: It could be one of the charges. Fonseka, 59, the only four-star general in the army, quit in November after falling out with his commander-in-chief, President Mahinda Rajapakse, whom he later challenged in January presidential elections. Shortly after the poll, which Rajapakse won comfortably, the government accused Fonseka of plotting a coup to overthrow the president and assassinate his family members. And earlier this month, Rajapakse sacked a dozen senior military officers described by the defence ministry as a threat to national security. The government is also concerned about Fonsekas apparent willingness to testify at any war crimes probe into alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lankan troops last year in the final stages of the conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels. Hours before his dramatic arrest, Fonseka had told reporters he was willing to face an international investigation. I am not prepared to protect anyone, if they have committed war crimes, Fonseka said. The government has resisted international calls for a probe, amid charges that a senior defence official ordered the killing of surrendering rebel leaders. The United Nations says 7,000 civilians died during the final stages of the conflict. In November, Fonseka, who holds a US green card, cut short a visit to the United States to avoid questioning by the authorities there on the war crimes issue. Fonseka had initially agreed to be questioned, but was pressured to leave by the Sri Lankan government which feared he would be asked to provide evidence against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the presidents brother. Fonsekas arrest caps a dramatic fall from grace for a man who, eight months ago, was regarded by many as a national hero. As the battlefield architect of the victory over the Tigers last May, Fonseka had seemingly secured his legacy as the commander who finally crushed their 37-year campaign for an independent Tamil homeland. But his bid to translate that success into political power proved his undoing when Rajapakse saw off his challenge at the ballot box. Fonseka was holding meetings at the offices of the opposition parties that had supported his candidacy when military police came for him on Monday night and took him to an undisclosed military location. Fonsekas wife Anoma gave a tearful press briefing Tuesday, saying her husband had been treated like an animal. This is not an arrest. It is an abduction, she said. What I want to tell the government is: 'Just be reasonable. Treat him like a human being. Fonseka had vowed to challenge the result of the January poll in the Supreme Court, and also said he was keen to contest parliamentary elections, which the government is expected to call within days. Opposition leader and former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe said Fonsekas arrest was a big blow to democracy in Sri Lanka. This should never have happened, Wickremesinghe told reporters during a visit to India where he called on Rajapakse to secure Fonsekas immediate release. The arrest also prompted concern from the United States, which said it could worsen divisions as the island recovers from its long war. There is a tremendous need for the government of Sri Lanka to work to overcome the fissures that exist within its society, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told AFP.