New Delhi: Amid the ongoing political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka, acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa are among the four leaders who have joined the race to become the country’s next President as the lawmakers met on Saturday to begin the process of choosing another president to succeed Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who resigned after facing unprecedented protests against his government over the country’s financial breakdown.
Here are the latest developments:
– Other than Wickremesinghe and Premadasa, Marxist JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Dullas Alahapperuma, a breakaway SLPP candidate, are the other two leaders who have so far declared their nomination to challenge the July 20 vote in Parliament to succeed Rajapaksa until the end of his term until November 2024 after he resigned on Thursday.
– Parliament met for a special session on Saturday to declare the vacancy in the presidency following the resignation of Rajapaksa.
– Rajapaksa, who escaped to the Maldives on Wednesday and afterward arrived in Singapore on Thursday, officially resigned on Friday, covering off a tumultuous 72 hours in the crisis-hit nation that saw protesters storm numerous notorious structures, including the President and the Prime Minister’s residence.
– During the 13-minute meeting, Dhammika Dassanayake, Secretary General of Parliament, announced the vacancy for the post of president.
– Dasanayake said that nominations for the appointment of the new president will be heard on Tuesday and assuming there is more than one applicant, the lawmakers will decide on Wednesday. Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Dissanayake, 53, on Saturday officially declared his intention to contest the election.
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– “The main reason for this is that we feel that our party and our leader represents many of the aspirations and in fact the spirit of the people’s movement that has been taking place in our country for so long,” Dissanayake party’s spokesperson Harini Amarasuriya told reporters.
– While formally pronouncing his aim to contest the vote, Main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Premadasa said, “Even though it is an uphill struggle, I am convinced that truth will prevail.”
– Wickremesinghe, 73, was sworn in as the first acting President. Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has officially announced that Rajapaksa has resigned as President. He told that the Parliament session will be called on July 20 and then the new President will be elected. He said that the nomination for the post of President will be held on July 19.