Sri Lankan president resigns, PM as interim president

Sri Lanka's Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena on Friday announced the official resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Sri Lankan president resigns, PM as interim president

In this file photo taken on August 2, 2020, United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe waves to supporters during the party's final campaign rally ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Colombo.

Sri Lanka's ruling party on Friday said they would nominate interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe to the presidency when the parliament elects a new president on July 20.

General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Sagara Kariyawasam said in a statement that the SLPP would nominate Wickremesinghe and support him in the vote.

Sri Lanka's Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena earlier on Friday said that a new president would be elected through the parliament on July 20 following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

On Friday, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was sworn in as interim president till the election on July 20.

Earlier in the day, Abeywardena said he has received the resignation letter of the president, and from this point forth the president has legally resigned from his legal duties and responsibilities.

"Under these circumstances, the constitutional procedure of appointing a new president will now be activated. Until this constitutional procedure is over, according to the constitution the prime minister will function in the capacity of the president overseeing functions, duties, and powers of the office of the president," the speaker told a media briefing.

The speaker added that parliament will convene on July 16 and he requested all legislators to attend parliamentary sessions on that day.

He requested maximum cooperation for the democratic process of electing a new president and government from all party leaders, state officials, and security forces, and made a special appeal to the citizens of Sri Lanka to create a peaceful environment that would allow all lawmakers to attend parliament freely.

Under such an environment, with the help of all responsible, the speaker said he intends to conclude the process of electing a new president within a short period of seven days.

Sri Lanka has been in the midst of a severe economic turmoil for months, which has led to a shortage of basic supplies such as food, gas and fuel.

Special Reports