Sri Lanka’s President to resign on July 13

The announcement was made by the Speaker following a hybrid meeting of several political parties, that some leaders joined via Zoom.


July 11, 2022

COLOMBO – Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has assured the nation that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will resign on July 13. Speaker Abeywardene said that he had received such an assurance when he informed President Rajapaksa of decisions taken at a party leaders’ meeting chaired by him at the Speaker’s official residence Saturday (09) late afternoon. The announcement was made soon after mobs set Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence at the Flower Road ablaze.

The Speaker chaired the meeting under police guard as protesters gathered outside his official residence. Several leaders of political parties represented in Parliament and senior representatives of some political parties attended the meeting while some joined via zoom.Former President and leader of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena, MP, declared that both President Rajapaksa and Premier Wickremesinghe had to step down. He warned that those who campaigned for genuine change of government wouldn’t tolerate Wickremesinghe’s continuation as the PM.If Wickremesinghe continues to be the PM, he will have to be sworn in as the Acting President. Speaker Abeywardena revealed that Premier Wickremesinghe, who participated at the meeting chaired by him, had proposed himself as the Acting President.

Consequent to what the Speaker called a lengthy meeting the following proposals were submitted to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. (a) The President and the Prime Minister had to resign from their offices as soon as possible (b) according to the Constitution, the next step is to convene parliament within seven days and make a decision by consensus to appoint an Acting President (c) the establishment of an interim government headed by a new Prime Minister according to a in terms of consensus of the all-party representatives representing the current Parliament under the acting President (d) Thereafter, calling for an election within a certain period of time and giving the people the opportunity to elect a new parliament.

The Speaker said Premier Wickremesinghe had also proposed an alternative set of proposals namely (a) The President resigns immediately and the Prime Minister becomes the Acting President (b) the formation of an interim government under the leadership of a new Prime Minister. If that was not acceptable both the President and the Prime Minister should resign, appoint a representative from the Parliament as the Acting President, then appoint a new Prime Minister with the consent of all parties to pave the way for an interim government for a specified period.

The current Parliament is represented by 15 political parties. They are SLPP (145 members), SJB (54), ITAK (10), JJB (03), AITC (02), EPDP (02), UNP, SLFP, OPPP (Our Power of People Party), TMVP (Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal), MNA (Muslim National Alliance), TMTK (Tamil Makkal Theshiya Kutani), ACMC (All Ceylon Makkal Congress), NC (National Congress) and SLMC (Sri Lanka Muslim Congress) represented by one MP each.

Matara District SLPP lawmaker Dullus Alahapperuma on behalf of the dissident SLPP MPs told The Island that both the President and the Prime Minister should resign to pave the way for swift implementation of the decisions taken at the meeting chaired by Speaker Abeywardena.

MP Alahapperuma emphasised that had the President given up executive power at an earlier stage of the campaign his resignation, the transfer of power could have taken place smoothly. Unfortunately, the President had delayed his decision until it was too late, Alahapperuma said, urging the people to remain calm. Violence would only aggravate the current political-economic-social crisis and impede ongoing efforts to form a stable government, he added.

In a statement issued by a group of SLPP MPs headed by Alahapperuma as the Army vacated the President’s House, the Presidential Secretariat (Old Parliament building) and Temple Trees, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was urged to quit forthwith.

A member of the group, Anuradhapura District MP Prof. Channa Jayasumana told The Island that although only16 signed the letter their group consisted of 47 SLPP members. The signatories to the statement are Dullus Alahapperuma, Prof. Channa Jayasumana, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Prof. Charitha Herath, Udayana Kirindigoda, K.P.S. Kumarasiri, Lalith Ellawala, Sudath Manjula, Upul Galappathy, Wasantha Yapa Bandara, K. Kodituwakku, Gunapala Ratnasekera, Akila Saliya Ellawela, Udayakantha Gunatilleke, Dilan Perera and Thilak Rajapaksha.

Several Viyathmaga nominees were among them.Prof. Jayasumana said that the group of 47 felt that the resignation of the President would enable both him and his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, MP, to retain the honour of bringing the war to a successful conclusion. He alleged that a small group of people bent on remaining in power had convinced the President to reject repeated calls for his resignation.

SJB leader Sajith Premadasa declared that his party wouldn’t under any circumstances accept the continuation of UNP leader Wickremesinghe as the Premier. He said his party would not attend a meeting called by Premier Wickremesinghe on Saturday.

On Saturday, two SLPPers lawmakers, Transport, Highways and Media Minister Bandula Gunawardena and Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera announced their decision to quit the Cabinet. SLFPer Amaraweera said that he would relinquish the portfolio as soon as he accepted a shipment of urea from India at the Colombo Port over the weekend.

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