Colombo, July 13 (newsin.asia): President Gotabaya Rajapaksa having fled Sri Lanka for refuge in the Maldives, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be taking over as Interim President as per 40 C of the Sri Lankan constitution.
However, political parties and other groups which are bitterly against Wickremesinghe, have started a massive action in Colombo. Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters in front of the President’s and the Prime Minister’s office here. The injured were admitted to the National Hospital.
Election of President
The election for a new President to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s term (which ends in 2024) will be held on July 20. The 225 members of the Sri Lankan parliament will elected the President through a secret ballot. The last date for nominations is July 18.
So far there are three candidates: the Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Dullas Alahaperuma of the ruling Sri Lanka Poduana Peramuna (SLPP).
Hours ahead of submitting his resignation from the Sri Lankan Presidency on Wednesday, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his wife Anoma Rajapaksa, flew out of the country in a Sri Lanka Air Force jet and landed in the Maldives at 22 hours GMT, the foreign media said.
Later, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s office confirmed that President Rajapaksa has left the country.
Maldives has traditionally been very friendly to Sri Lanka and its governments, irrespective of the parties in power in the two countries.
Long ago, when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, after the Leader of the Opposition declined to take the job, Gotabaya and Wickremesinghe had agreed that Gotabaya would resign and accept a safe passage out of the country arranged by Wickremesinghe.
This plan was carried out on Wednesday.
The Defense Ministry and the Immigration authorities at the airport followed the government’s guidelines and Gotabaya Rajapaksa flew out to a safe house in friendly Maldives.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Indian High Commission denied social media news that Gotabaya had left for India. The High Commission denied that India had a hand in the supposed departure of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation as President is expected to be announced officially on Wednesday. Between now and the election of the new President on July 20, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be Interim President, as per 40 C of the Sri Lankan constitution.
If the Prime Minister is unable to take the job, then the parliament Speaker, Mahinda Yapa Abeygunarardena, assumes charge as President till parliament elects a new President on July 20.
The new President will serve only till the end of the term of the outgoing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Currently, three MPs have indicated their interest in contesting the Presidential election. They are: the Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Dullas Alahaperuma of the ruling Sri Lanka Poduana Peramuna (SLPP).
While Premadasa has only 41 MPs on his side, Wickremesinghe and Alahapeuma have to get the support of the SLPP, which is the single largest party. But the SLPP is divided on this issue, with some with Alahaperuma and some with Wickemesinghe.
With the SLPP Supremo Basil Rajapaksa having tried to flee the country (he was stopped at the airport by the staff and passengers), Dullas Alahaperuma’s chances of getting the party nomination have improved. Wickremesinghe on the other hand, gets weakened as he is thought to be “Rajapaksas’ man”.