Thursday, December 8, 2022

Sri Lanka President, Prime Minister to resign

  • Protesters burn the PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s home
  • President Gotabaya flees home

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will step down on Wednesday, the 13th, after months of popular agitation. There have been a series of protests against him amidst economic crisis. Earlier in the day, Presient Gotabaya fled before the protesters attacked his residence. There have been protests since March demanding his resignation. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has announced that he would resign.

The protesters set on fire the house of Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo. After the arson, the PM offered to resign. Gotabaya should have stepped down along with his brother. The protesters were not deterred by tear gas and they entered the prime minister’s house as they did in the president’s house earlier in the day. Wickremesinghe was appointed as prime minister in May with a view to reducing the anger of the people against Rajapakse brothers. The PM also said he would resign for the sake of the well being of the citizens. Wickremesinghe said in order to facilitate the all-party government to take over, he would resign. Former cricket captain Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardena denounced the violence and appealed for peace.

The nation of 22 million people has been struggling under the foreign exchange shortage and petrol scarcity. There has been a shortage of food, fuel and medicine. In seventy years of independent existence, the island nation had never experienced this kind of crisis.

Sri Lankan constitution says if the office of the president becomes vacant, by any eventuality, prior to the expiry of his or her term of office, Parliament shall elect president from one of its members. The successor will hold the office for the rest of the term. Parliament has to meet within three days of the president’s resignation. Which means, if Gotabaya resigns on Wednesday, the parliament has to meet on Saturday. At that meeting the secretary-general of the parliament will announce the resignation of the president and the need to elect someone in his place. If more than one person compete for the top position, a secret ballot will be held and the winner should be able to get absolute majority. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold the office of the president for less than one month in which time the parliament should complete the process of election.

K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor

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