New Delhi: Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as interim president on Friday, after Parliament speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena accepted the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe, 73, was sworn in as acting president of Sri Lanka by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, the Prime Minister’s media division informed.
Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, appointed Wickremesinghe as acting President after he fled to the Maldives due to massive protests against his government for mishandling the economy, which bankrupted the country.
After arriving in Singapore yesterday, Gotabaya Rajapaksa submitted his resignation letter, officially vacating the office of President.
Parliament Speaker Abeywardena told news agency ANI, “Yes, the resignation (of President) has been accepted, the legal process will follow. Members will be invited tomorrow (to elect a President).”
Abeywardena further stated that President Gotabaya has legally resigned from his legal duties and responsibilities as of July 14, and that the new President will be chosen in accordance with the requirements of Special Provisions Act No. 2 of 1981 and Article 40 of the Constitution.
“It is my intention to complete this procedure successfully and speedily. As the oldest democracy in the South Asian region holding Democratic traditions sacred, completing this process in a transparent and Democratic manner would be a milestone not only in the history of Sri Lanka but also in the Democratic history of the world,” the Speaker told ANI.
President Rajapaksa To Remain In Singapore
As per reports, Rajapaksa went from Maldives to Singapore on Thursday evening aboard a Saudia Airlines flight.
Previously, it was said that Rajapaksa and his wife are going to remain in Singapore and not fly to the Middle East after it was speculated that the former Sri Lankan President and his wife were scheduled to fly to Jeddah on Saudia Airlines from Singapore.
Rajapaksa resigned after thousands of protesters stormed the President’s House in the Colombo Fort area on Saturday, July 9. In a tweet, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also stated that he was ready to resign from his position amid the continuous protests.
Economic Crisis in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is experiencing unparalleled economic crisis, the worst in seven decades, with millions unable to purchase food, medication, fuel, and other necessities. Hundreds of people are forced to stand in line for hours to buy petrol in many major cities, including Colombo, sometimes clashing with police and the military.
After two years of money printing and a botched float with a surrender requirement, the island nation’s inflation exceeded 50% in June, sending the rupee down to 360 to the US dollar from 200.
It needs to obtain at least USD 4 billion to tide over the acute shortage in foreign exchange reserves.
ALSO READ | Sri Lanka Crisis: Speaker Confirms President Rajapaksa’s Resignation, MPs To Meet Tomorrow To Elect New Prez