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Gotabaya steps down as Lankan president, emails resignation letter to Speaker

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 14th July, 2022 08:09:03 PM
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Gotabaya steps down as Lankan president, emails resignation letter to Speaker

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Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday emailed his resignation letter to the parliament speaker. He had fled to the Maldives earlier this week and on Thursday took a Saudi Airlines plane to Singapore. Sources have, however, refuted media reports on their onward travel. His escape to Maldives was negotiated by former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, sources said. Meanwhile, Sri Lankans are awaiting his resignation, a day after he fled to escape an uprising against an economic crisis blamed on his government's mismanagement.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's original resignation letter will be flown into Colombo from Singapore as soon as possible, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday. Rajapaksa earlier emailed his resignation to the speaker of Sri Lanka's parliament, two government sources said, after he fled to Singapore following mass protests over his country's economic meltdown. The speaker wants to see the original before formally announcing the president's resignation, the first source said.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena on Thursday informed Rajapaksa that he should submit his letter of resignation as soon as possible or else he will consider other options to remove him from the office.

Sri Lanka's Parliament will not convene on Friday as Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena is yet to receive President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation letter, the Speaker's Office said on Thursday. The next date for the meeting will be announced within the next three days if President Rajapaksa's resignation letter is received by the Speaker today, the Speaker's Office said. On Monday, Abeywardena had announced that Parliament will elect the new Sri Lankan President on July 20 following Rajapaksa's resignation on July 13. But Rajapaksa, 73, appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the acting President hours after he fled the country without resigning as previously announced. Abeywardena on Thursday informed Rajapaksa that he should submit his letter of resignation as soon as possible or else he will consider other options to remove him from the office.

Singapore's foreign ministry said on Thursday Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had been allowed to enter the city-state on a private visit. It said he has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted asylum.

The President's resignation comes on a day the protesters announced they would end their occupation of official buildings, including the presidential palace, presidential secretariat and the Prime Minister's office.

The Singapore government has said the former Sri Lankan President is on a "private visit" and has not applied for asylum.

Mr Rajapaksa while he was President enjoyed immunity from arrest, which he used to leave Sri Lanka. He stepped down only after he was outside the country to avoid the possibility of being detained.

Source: Times of India & NDTV