Sri Lanka crisis: Sajith Premadasa opts out of President race
| Updated: Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 10:44 [IST]
Colombo, July 19: Opposition leader in Sri Lanka Parliament Sajith Premadasa, who was one of the key contenders for the post of President, has withdrawn his candidature and extended support to rival candidate Dullas Alahapperuma for the top post.
Premadasa announced his decision to opt out of the race on Twitter. "For the greater good of my country that I love and the people I cherish I hereby withdraw my candidacy for the position of President. @sjbsrilankaand our alliance and our opposition partners will work hard towards making @DullasOfficial victorious," he tweeted.Sajith Premadasa
Hours before the announcement, he had tweeted that he would take the "correct decision at the appropriate time." He wrote, "On my way to Parliament to take a crucial step. I want the people of 🇱🇰 to know that I will take the correct decision at the appropriate time to protect my motherland's national interest and the rights of all my fellow Sri Lankan people."
Sri Lanka acting president says IMF talks nearing conclusion
Now, Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Dullas Alahaperuma and Anura Kumara Dissanayake are in the race. The nominations for the Presidential elections will be held on Tuesday and the new President of Sri Lanka will be elected on July 20.
Dullas Alahapperuma is a senior lawmaker from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and a former journalist. He was a Cabinet minister in the previous Rajapaksa government.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa submitted his resignation letter last Thursday after arriving in Singapore, officially vacating the post of President.
The 225-member Parliament is dominated by the ruling SLPP party, which has nearly 100 lawmakers. The ruling SLPP which officially announced it would be backing Wickremesinghe, the acting president, found some resistance to its decision from within.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka's Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday urged the political parties to put aside their differences and form an all-party government which would allow the country to recover from the economic crisis as he assured the public that talks with the IMF were nearing conclusion.
"Acting President Wickremesinghe called upon the political parties in the country to put aside their differences and not allow the country to suffer over differences over an individual. He urged them to come together and form an All-Party Government which would allow the country to recover from the economic crisis," according to the statement issued by his office on his behalf.
Meanwhile, the security has been beefed up in and around Sri Lanka's Parliament complex on Tuesday after the Speaker lodged a complaint with the Inspector General of Police calling for a detailed investigation to be conducted into certain inflammatory posts published on social media threatening Members of Parliament.
The complaint by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena came hours before Parliament was poised to accept the nominations for the post of president, which fell vacant last week after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and later resigned.
Wickremesinghe on Monday declared a state of emergency giving him broad powers ahead of the crucial presidential election on Wednesday, a move dubbed as an "undemocratic draconian act" by the opposition leaders amid growing demands for his resignation.