Wednesday, August 10, 2022

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign unceremoniously today

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is set to resign paving the way for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe taking over as the acting President.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena is expected to announce the President’s resignation today after he receives the letter of resignation from the President following which the PM will be sworn in,.

The President can resign from office after addressing his letter of resignation to the Speaker of Parliament.

This will be the first time a sitting President will be resigning from office. Rajapaksa announced his decision to resign on Sunday after protesters overran and occupied the President’s House and the President Secretariat hours after he was whisked away to safety at a secret location by security personnel.

Speculation was rife that Rajapaksa had refused to resign unless a safe exit is assured and facilitated after attempts to leave the country had failed or deferred.

Wickremesinghe who will take over as acting President will occupy the post till 20 July when Parliament is expected to elect a new President.

The Attorney General (AG) in response to an opinion sought by the Secretary to the Prime Minister this week had said that once an acting President takes over, he will be required to appoint a member from the Cabinet as Prime Minister.

He has also detailed the process which has to be followed thereafter for the election of a new President who will serve out the remainder of the term of his predecessor.

Meanwhile a group of SLPP MPs who met yesterday had said they would back Wickremesinghe at the vote which will be a secret ballot even though SLPP MP Dulles Alahapperuma too has expressed interest in contesting.

Alahapperuma met with SJB leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday to agree to a compromise which could see only one of them vying for the post, but the talks had ended inconclusively. Alahapperuma who had been offered the post of PM by Premadasa in return for his support to win the presidency had turned down the offer.

Hence a three-pronged battle is likely with Wickremesinghe, Premadasa and Alahapperuma vying for the post.

Despite this, several smaller parties in Parliament yesterday said yesterday all parties should work toward having a single candidate so that vote can be avoided, and an All-Party Government can be set up to deal with the critical economic issues at hand.

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